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Trevor Noah, New 'Daily Show' Host, Criticized for Tweets About Jews and Women

A day after South African comedian Trevor Noah was announced as Jon Stewart's successor on 'The Daily Show,' he ran into a backlash about his tweets.
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/ Source: NBC News

On Monday, Comedy Central announced that South-African comedian Trevor Noah would succeed Jon Stewart as host of "The Daily Show."

On Tuesday, the backlash began.

Noah, 31 and largely unknown in America before being tapped as the new emcee of the satirical news program, has been criticized for some of his past Twitter posts.

A few of his posts made fun of Jews in a manner that some critics have called anti-Semitic:

Other tweets were jokes about women that some have interpreted as misogynistic:

Noah's defenders have said the controversial posts should be seen in context: He is an edgy stand-up comedian widely known in his native country for pushing boundaries in the name of a laugh.

Other commenters have pointed out that Noah is being judged on roughly six of his roughly 8,900 tweets, and that he has a history of engaging in debates on race, social justice and the power of words — and jokes — to work through painful experiences.

The Anti-Defamation League took a moderate tone.

As for Noah, he responded Tuesday afternoon that people shouldn't judge him based on a few jokes that don't fully represent him as a person.

Comedy Central, which produces The Daily Show, also stood by him. “Like many comedians, Trevor Noah pushes boundaries; he is provocative and spares no one, himself included," the network said in a statement. "To judge him or his comedy based on a handful of jokes is unfair. Trevor is a talented comedian with a bright future at Comedy Central.”

Noah has in the past spoken bluntly — and with humor — about his difficulties growing up in apartheid-era South Africa as the son of a white father and a black mother, whom he has described as half-Jewish.

He has joked that he was "born a crime."

He has wrung laughs out of his childhood in stand-up routines.

"In the streets my father couldn't walk with us. He would walk on the other side of the road and wave at me like a creepy pedophile," he was quoted as telling a London audience. "And my mom could walk with me but every time the police went by she would drop me. I felt like a bag of weed."

Stewart, 52, said on Feb. 10 that he was leaving the popular series after 16 years at the mock-anchor desk. Noah's starting date hasn't been announced.


— Jon Schuppe