UPDATE 2: On Tuesday, Noah defend himself against critics, tweeting, “To reduce my views to a handful of jokes that didn’t land is not a true reflection of my character, nor my evolution as a comedian.”
Update: A spokesperson for Comedy Central has responded to the controversy in a statement, per The Hollywood Reporter: “Like many comedians, Trevor Noah pushes boundaries; he is provocative and spares no one, himself included. To judge him or his comedy based on a handful of jokes is unfair. Trevor is a talented comedian with a bright future at Comedy Central.”
Just days after garnering praise from around the entertainment world, newly appointed Daily Show host Trevor Noah has come under fire for a handful of old tweets that take aim at Jews and women, The Wrap reports.
The tweets in question were posted at various times between 2009 and as recently as May 2014. Among the offending missives were, “Behind every successful Rap Billionaire is a double as rich Jewish man. #BeatsByDreidel,” from 2014; “Messi gets the ball and the real players try to foul him, but Messi doesn’t go down easy, just like jewish chicks,” from 2012; and “‘Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I’m sexy!’ — fat chicks everywhere,” from 2011.
Comedian Roseanne Barr helped spur the backlash, addressing Noah on Twitter in a since-deleted note, “U should cease sexist & anti semitic ‘humor’ about jewish women & Israel.” Many of Noah’s controversial tweets were initially reposted by BuzzFeed editor, Tom Gara.
“C’mon baby even Twitter went down on me”- this line did not convince her.
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) July 26, 2012
“I actually prefer the women’s league to the mens.” – Nobody ever, about any sport. (except maybe, beach volleyball)
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) January 29, 2012
Almost bumped a Jewish kid crossing the road. He didn’t look b4 crossing but I still would hav felt so bad in my german car!
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) September 18, 2009
“Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I’m sexy!” – fat chicks everywhere.
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) October 14, 2011
Neither Noah nor Comedy Central have officially commented on the tweets, though MSNBC editor Anna Brand captured a screenshot of an ostensible reaction Noah tweeted this morning then promptly deleted: “Twitter does not have enough characters to respond to all the characters on Twitter.”
Pretty quick tweet & delete from Trevor Noah pic.twitter.com/L2Yr8Dab74
— Anna Brand (@thebrandedgirl) March 31, 2015
Noah was named Jon Stewart’s successor as host of The Daily Show on Monday. The 31-year-old South African stand-up has only recorded a few segments for the show after debuting as a correspondent last December. Still, upon the announcement, Stewart heralded Noah as “a tremendous comic and talent.”
An exact timetable for Stewart’s departure and the start of Noah’s tenure has yet to be announced, though Stewart said he would be stepping down from The Daily Show by the end of the year.