The news that Trevor Noah, a biracial, South African comedian, would succeed Jon Stewart as the next host of “The Daily Show” was applauded by many on Twitter after Comedy Central made the announcement on Monday.
But the warm reception was short-lived. Within hours, those scrutinizing Noah’s Twitter history found tweets that critics called sexist, racist and anti-Semitic.
Almost bumped a Jewish kid crossing the road. He didn't look b4 crossing but I still would hav felt so bad in my german car!— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) September 18, 2009
South Africans know how to recycle like israel knows how to be peaceful.— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) June 2, 2010
"Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I'm sexy!" - fat chicks everywhere.— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) October 14, 2011
A hot white woman with ass is like a unicorn. Even if you do see one, you'll probably never get to ride it.— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) November 28, 2011
Messi gets the ball and the real players try foul him, but Messi doesn't go down easy, just like jewish chicks. #ElClasico— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) January 25, 2012
I'm watching Olympic women's hockey. It's like lesbian porn. Without the porn. #InLove— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) July 31, 2012
Originally when men proposed they went down on one knee so if the woman said no they were in the perfect uppercut position.— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) December 20, 2012
Behind every successful Rap Billionaire is a double as rich Jewish man. #BeatsByDreidel— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) May 12, 2014
Looking at how successful all the Kardashian women are, I don't blame Bruce Jenner at all.— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) February 5, 2015
The backlash was swift.
Settles it. Won't be watching. RT @Trevornoah "Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think I'm sexy!" - fat chicks everywhere.— Allison Weaver (@SpiffyPop) March 31, 2015
Some, though, jumped to the comedian’s defense.
Why exactly should @Trevornoah stop making jokes about women/jews/...? He is a COMEDIAN. Lighten up folks.— Ella Leyers (@badgalella) March 31, 2015
Interesting that white comics make offensive jokes and are celebrated or tolerated but Trevor Noah well that's not acceptable.— roxane gay (@rgay) March 31, 2015
Hey press: Corporate pollution. Mass incarceration. Animal abuse. These are things to be offended by. Not Trevor Noah's Twitter feed.— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) April 1, 2015
Others were puzzled that it appeared neither Noah nor the network thought to address the tweets before Monday’s announcement.
Weird that Trevor Noah didn't do a quick twitter cleanup before getting the job.— Tom Gara (@tomgara) March 31, 2015
Funniest thing about @TrevorNoah is the reveal that nobody at Comedy Central knows how to do a Twitter search.— David Frum (@davidfrum) March 31, 2015
My biggest takeaway from the Trevor Noah tweets currently circulating is that he's in desperate need of a good writing staff.— Louis Peitzman (@LouisPeitzman) March 31, 2015
Noah himself seemed to address the backlash in a tweet.
“Twitter does not have enough characters to respond to all the characters on Twitter,” he wrote.
That message was later deleted before Noah posted another Tuesday evening.
To reduce my views to a handful of jokes that didn’t land is not a true reflection of my character, nor my evolution as a comedian.— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) March 31, 2015
A Feb. 13 tweet pinned to the top of the 31-year-old’s Twitter feed also appeared to reference the controversy.
Often, people who can do, don’t because they’re afraid of what people that can’t do will say about them doing.— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) February 13, 2015
Comedy Central also defended Noah.
“Like many comedians, Trevor Noah pushes boundaries; he is provocative and spares no one, himself included," the network said in a statement to Yahoo News. "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.”