Matchbox Twenty frontman, Rob “Smooth” Thomas was under fire this weekend over racist remarks he made onstage in Melbourne Australia. During a gig, while joking about how much he had to drink on the flight over, Thomas said, “I keep drinking until I think I’m a black Australian.”
“I was so ignorant to the situation that when I heard people groan I actually thought THEY were being racist.” Thomas later said in a Facebook post. “I didn’t know until TODAY that just the phrase ‘black Australian’ was racist all on it’s own.”
The comment by many was presumed to be an insult to Australia’s Indigenous Aboriginal population. Thomas quickly took to Facebook to clear up his comments and offer a sincere apology.
First, please understand that I did not intend to make a joke ABOUT race. 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.
The joke I made was meant to be at no one’s expense but my own. I made a comment about drinking so much on the long flight over that i started to think i was something i’m not.
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. I’m not Australian. I’m not black and I’m not a little girl. Again, if I had any idea of the stereotype I would have chosen another example. There was absolutely no malice even in jest.
I am truly sorry for how this came across, most of all to the indigenous people here. Australia has been so good to me for so long that I’m embarrassed I don’t know more about the history and the culture.
While I’m here I’m going to use this opportunity to rectify that. I promise you this!
See the full apology on the singer’s Facebook page here.
What do you think of Thomas’ apology? Let us know in the comments below.