The Daily Show host Trevor Noah has disowned a joke he made about Aboriginal women after a clip from an old comedy routine surfaced.
In footage from 2013, which has circulated on social media, the South African-born funnyman quipped that indigenous Australians were ugly.
The joke angered several prominent figures with Aboriginal heritage, and sparked calls for a boycott of his forthcoming tour of the country.
Retired rugby player Joe Williams angrily tweeted the star, calling the joke “unacceptable” and accusing him of “perpetrating & encouraging racial abuse”.
Noah, 34, whose mother is black, responded to the criticism by disowning the gag and vowing never to use similar humour in his shows.
“After visiting Australia’s Bunjilaka museum and learning about Aboriginal history first hand I vowed never to make a joke like that again,” he wrote in a tweet to Williams and Australian author Anita Heiss, who shared the sportsman’s tweet and called for a boycott of Noah’s shows.
In the footage, the comedian joked: “All women of every race can be beautiful. And I know some of you are sitting there now going, ‘Oh Trevor… I’ve never seen a beautiful Aborigine.’ But you know what you say? You say, ‘Yet.’ Because you haven’t seen all of them, right?”
He then went on to add that, “maybe Aborigine women do special things, maybe they’ll just like, jump on top of you,” before imitating the sound of a didgeridoo, likening playing the instrument to oral sex.
He promised to ensure the clip, which has since been removed from YouTube, is “not promoted in any way” but his response to the controversy did little to stem the outrage however, as a number of social media users pointed out that he had failed to issue a full apology.
Williams himself retweeted several users demanding the comedian issue a fuller statement apologising for his remarks.
The controversy is the second involving Noah in recent weeks, after a French diplomat criticised him for referring to the country’s World Cup winning team as African due to their diverse heritage.
The funnyman, who replaced Jon Stewart as the host of U.S. network Comedy Central’s flagship satirical news show in 2015, is due to begin his Australian tour next month (Aug18).