Trudeau calls brownface pics, videos of him 'unacceptable' and 'embarrasing'

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Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says when he sought public office he never told anyone that he had worn "blackface" years earlier because he was too embarrassed.

Controversy erupted around Trudeau's re-election campaign late Wednesday following the release of a 2001 photo of him wearing dark paint on his hands and face while dressed as Aladdin in a turban.

He has apologized and acknowledged his decision to wear blackface was racist.

More images of Trudeau in skin-darkening face paint, including a brief video from the early 1990s, have since surfaced.

Speaking to reporters today in Winnipeg, Trudeau says he didn't recall some of those earlier images and that he didn't see at the time that it was wrong because of his privileged upbringing.

"I didn't understand how hurtful this is to people who live with discrimination every single day,"  a contrite Trudeau told reporters. "I have always acknowledged that I come from a place of privilege, but I now need to acknowledge that comes with a massive blind spot."

During his news conference, he repeatedly acknowledged that blackface was wrong, and repeatedly used the word "sorry".

"Darkening your face regardless of the context or circumstances is always unacceptable because of the racist history of blackface,"

In an effort to deal with the fallout of the controversy, Trudeau delayed his campaign plans Thursday to make phone calls to Liberal party candidates and to leaders in different ethnic communities across the country.

Trudeau has also admitted to wearing blackface for a performance when he was in high school, singing Harry Belafonte's "Banana Boat Song (Day O)."