Trevor Noah has defended his comments about Rishi Sunak, insisting he didn’t say “the entire UK is racist” in a monologue discussing the appointment of the United Kingdom’s first British Asian prime minister.
Speaking in a video posted on social media from his US satirical news programme The Daily Show, presenter and comedian Trevor Noah had alleged there had been a “backlash” against Mr Sunak, with people saying, “now the Indians are going to take over Great Britain”.
UK politicians, including former cabinet minister Sajid Javid, were quick to counter his claims.
Piers Morgan also chipped in, saying there had been “no such backlash against Sunak,” labelling The Daily Show “race-baiting twerps” and accusing the US media of “falsely portraying Britain as a racist country”.
Responding to Morgan on Twitter, Noah said: “C’mon Piers you’re smarter than that.
“I wasn’t saying ‘The entire UK is racist’, I was responding to the racists who don’t want Rishi as PM because of his race.
“That’s why I said. ‘Some people’.”
His monologue, titled Unpacking the backlash against new UK PM Rishi Sunak on Twitter, and British Racists Reject Rishi Sunak on Instagram, was delivered in front of a live studio audience.
In it Noah said: “Watching the story of Rishi Sunak becoming England’s first prime minister of colour, of Indian descent, of all these things and then seeing the backlash is one of the more telling things about how people view the role that they or their people have played in history.
“And what I mean by that is this, you hear a lot of the people saying ‘Oh, they’re taking over, now the Indians are going to take over Great Britain and what’s next?’
“And I always find myself going ‘So what? What are you afraid of?'”
He continued: “Why are you so afraid? And I think it’s because the quiet part a lot of people don’t realise they are saying is ‘We don’t want these people who were previously oppressed to get into power because then they may do to us what we did to them.'”
Former chancellor Mr Javid shared the clip online, writing: “Simply wrong. A narrative catered to his audience, at a cost of being completely detached from reality.
“Britain is the most successful multiracial democracy on earth and proud of this historic achievement.”
Asked whether Mr Sunak believes Britain is a racist country, a Downing Street spokeswoman said: “No, he doesn’t.”
Social media users were also quick to hit back at the remarks.
Hampshire-born Mr Sunak became the UK’s first Hindu PM, the first of Asian heritage and, at 42, the youngest for more than 200 years when he was appointed prime minister last week.
He is married to Akshata Murty, the daughter of billionaire Indian IT giant Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy, with whom he has two daughters.
Last month, South African TV presenter Noah announced he will be stepping down as host of The Daily Show after seven years fronting the show.