Rob Thomas Apologizes For Racist Drinking Joke About Black Australians
Rob Thomas was booed for making a racist joke about black Australians during a concert on Saturday, and is now issuing a formal apology. See video below.
During the solo gig in Melbourne, the Matchbox 20 front man was telling the audience about how he deals with long flights. “I’ve been doing it for so long, I’ve got the jet lag figured out,” he said. “What you do is, when you get on the plane on your way here, you start drinking.”
That was met with cheers from the crowd, and Thomas went on. “And then I drink until I think I’m Australian,” he said, prompting laughs. The singer then added, “And I keep drinking until I think I’m a black Australian.”
The remark was met with boos from the audience, leading Thomas to crack, “Don’t be racist.” After some awkward silence, he continued with his joke, saying, “And I drink until I become a pretty little girl, and then my wife starts to get worried about me and I stop drinking for a minute.”
The show went on without further controversy, but Thomas has since issued an apology via Facebook. He begans, “After the show in Melbourne tonight while backstage with some of my Australian friends, it was brought to my attention that I said something that is racist and insensitive.”
“Please understand that although it is no excuse, I was completely unaware that in Australia there is a polarizing social issue happening right now involving indigenous people and alcohol,” Thomas continued. “When I was made aware of it, the ground fell out beneath me, and I realized that people may now see me as the exact opposite of who I am.”
The performer went on, “I’m sitting here in my hotel room completely gutted that a joke that I made was much more relevant to the times in Australia than I realized. I know that words are just words, but to those I offended, I deeply, DEEPLY apologize! Everyone who knows me is aware that for the past 20 years I have been a fervent supporter of civil rights, so I am incredibly embarrassed by my ignorance.”
“I feel like a fool and apologize to all Australians,” Thomas concluded. See video of the incident below.