Radio-Canada New Year's Eve sketch parodying Trudeau in India criticized as racist

JT RadCan

Radio-Canada has found itself defending a scene in its annual New Year's program after a barrage of online criticism over a sketch making fun of the Prime Minister's ill-fated trip to India in 2018.

In the scene on "Bye Bye", an actor playing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes a drag from a joint, and is transported to a world where he is dressed in traditional Indian clothing as talking cows are knocked over by a gorilla that appears intended to look like U.S. President Donald Trump.

On the Facebook page of the CBC's French-language service, Indo-Canadians led the calls of insensitivity.  Many say elements of the scene were racist and make a mockery of Indian culture.

"I’ve never in my life been as offended as I am after watching this video. (Congratulations) Radio-Canada for creating the most disgusting video of all time," wrote Facebook user Maaha Khan.

The Prime Minister drew significant disdain for his frequent wearing of traditional Indian clothing during his trip to the country last February.

In addition to the talking cows, the sketch's critics were also frustrated by a scene in which the actor playing Trudeau plays a flute as gasoline-pump hoses rise from baskets beside him.

"Snake charming has a very ancient history, and this depiction was a mockery of them — they are traditional healers," Ina Bhowmick, the founder and director of local company Bollywood Blast, said in an interview with The Canadian Press on Thursday.

For its part, Radio-Canada has said that it "in no way [intended] to disrespect the Indain community, or Indian traditions or culture".