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Rob Thomas Apologizes After Insulting Australian Audience With Racial Joke

Bryan Bedder, Getty Images
Bryan Bedder, Getty Images

What’s Australia’s local cuisine like? Don’t ask Rob Thomas, who could only taste his foot in his mouth upon his last trip Down Under.

On Saturday (February 20), the Matchbox 20 frontman pissed off concertgoers in Melbourne when he joked mid-set: “I keep drinking until I think I’m a black Australian!” in reference to getting drunk during the flight to Australia, according to NME.

This didn’t sit well with locals, who pointed out that drunkenness is an offensive stereotype of Australia’s Aboriginal population, but Thomas insisted in a Facebook post that he was truly ignorant of his remark’s potential to insult.

“I have seen people comment that after coming here for so long I should know that there is a connection between the indigenous peoples of Australia and a stereotype involving drinking. Embarrassingly, I truly didn’t,” he began, before saying his joke was only meant to be self-effacing.

“I said I drank until I thought I was Australian. Then I drank so much that I thought I was a black Australian and then I drank so much I thought I was a little Australian girl. These were 3 things I chose at random to represent 3 things I’m not,” he noted. “I didn’t know until TODAY that just the phrase ‘black Australian’ was racist all on its own. I sat in my room and I cried when I found out…I am truly sorry for how this came across, most of all to the indigenous people here.”

The apology seemed to encourage some fans who were initially hurt.

“I was shocked by the comment, and did expect more from you,” one reply read. “But I am very glad to read you’re going to take time to learn about Aboriginal culture while you’re here. Thank you for listening, and for being honest, remorseful and open to learning.”

What do you make of Rob’s remarks? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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