After a fight about a skit he did about Rishi Sunak becoming PM, comedian Trevor Noah says he did not say “the whole UK is racist.”
Noah said there was a “backlash” against Mr. Sunak on the US news show The Daily Show earlier this week.
People in the UK didn’t like what he said, and ex-chancellor Sajid Javid said that Noah was “simply wrong.”
But Noah has now defended his segment by saying, “That’s why I said, ‘Some people.'”
Mr. Sunak is the first British Asian to be prime minister of the UK. He took over as leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister on Tuesday, after a process to choose a new leader.
Noah, who is from South Africa and grew up during apartheid, said in his first comments on the US show: “A lot of people say, “Oh, they’re taking over, and now are Indians going to take over Great Britain. What’s next?”
“And I’m always thinking, “So what? What do you worry about? I think it’s because a lot of people don’t realize that the quiet part of what they’re saying is, “We don’t want these people who used to be oppressed to get power because then they might do to us what we did to them.”
During his skit, Noah played a clip from radio station LBC from last week, when a caller wrongly said Mr. Sunak described himself as “not even British” during the recent Conservative leadership election.
In response, Mr. Javid tweeted that the comedian’s comments were “so wrong” and that Britain is “the most successful multiracial democracy on earth, and we are proud of this historic achievement.”
On Thursday, Downing Street said that Mr. Sunak didn’t think that Britain was a racist country.
Piers Morgan, a TV host, also wrote on Twitter that the US media “falsely portrays Britain as a racist country.”
On Friday evening, Noah finally answered, saying: “Piers, come on, you know better than that.
I didn’t say that everyone in the UK is a racist. I used the word “some people” in response to the racists who oppose Rishi becoming PM due to his race.
Noah has been talking about racial equality for a long time. In 2017, he wrote a book called Born a Crime. The title refers to the fact that he was born in South Africa to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when this kind of relationship was illegal and could lead to jail time.
Before moving to the US in 2011, he started his career in South Africa, where he released a number of stand-up specials and hosted a late-night talk show.
He has been the host of The Daily Show, a late-night talk and satirical news show, since 2015. However, he announced last month that he would be leaving the show.
Mr. Sunak was born in Hampshire, south-east England, to Indian parents, a pharmacist mother and a general practitioner (GP) father. He is married to Akshata Murty, with whom he has two young daughters, Krishna and Anoushka.