Rufus Hound has been accused of ‘yellow face’ racism after images of him as villain Abanzar in a new production of Aladdin were released.
Promotional images ahead of Peterborough’s New Theatre’s December pantomime showed the star wearing heavy eyeliner – prompting outrage from his fans.
The 42-year-old comedian – who found himself at the centre of a race row last year after old tweets resurfaced – has been accused of wearing ‘racist make-up’.
Claims: Rufus Hound, 42, has been accused of racism for his role of villain Abanzar in Peterborough’s New Theatre’s December production of Aladdin
Rufus, 42, revealed he had made the decision to open up about the situation to his followers as he was ‘sat here, having a cry and not knowing what to do about it’.
Tweets seen by The Mirror not only include accusations of Rufus wearing ‘racist make-up’ but of him contributing to ‘a nationwide anti-Asian public humiliation campaign’.
According to the paper, one person wrote in response to the image: ‘Panto Season is basically a nationwide anti-Asian public humiliation campaign innit.’
Accusations: The 42-year-old comedian – who found himself at the centre of a race row last year after old tweets resurfaced – has been accused of wearing ‘racist make-up’
Responding in a string of Twitter messages, the Rufus said: ‘Hello. Some days you just feel sad, y’know? Like even though there are plenty of good things, the bad things just feel a bit too heavy.
‘Problem is, there’s a lot of heavy s**t. The slide into fascism, the planet burning, love not winning in the end. Y’know. F**k I feel sad.’
He went on: ‘Let me please say to anyone who has seen the poster for the Panto I’m doing in Peterborough this Christmas…
‘I dressed myself and was handed eyeliner to put on, as the final image needed to look forebodingly down. I just tried to make my eyes as menacing as possible.
‘At no point did I think it was yellowface or anything near, as the character of Abanazar isn’t Asian origin at all. I swear – that’s why it never crossed my mind.
‘Seeing it now, I get it. I see that, with white actors having so often used eyeshape as a racist dogwhistle, the image resonates with racism for many.’
Response: Writing in response in a string of Twitter messages, the star said: ‘Hello. Some days you just feel sad, y’know?’
He added that his ‘little old chimp brain here is absolutely lost’.
MailOnline has reached out to Rufus’ representatives for comment.
The theatre company behind the production has since changed the image of Rufus to one of him without eyeliner, with a spokesperson telling The Mirror: ‘We overlooked an important mistake here. We are sorry for this oversight.’
In January, old tweets from the star emerged in which he used the word ‘r****d’ in 2011, referred to Ed Sheeran as a ‘gay lord’ and tweeted racist slurs including the n-word in 2012.
Ahead of the report on his historic tweets, Hound shared a link to tweets originally posted in September 2020, in which he responded to criticism of his posts.
The thread read: ‘Hi there Occasionally for different reasons, people trawl through my timeline (I’ve been on this site for 11 years, so that’s a fair bit of material) to find stuff that they can take offence at or inspire offence in others with.
‘So, I just want to make something abundantly clear: When I was a stand-up and a younger man, the culture on here was much darker and edgier. I made jokes about race, sexuality, politics… everything.
‘You may not like those jokes. You may find those jokes offensive or upsetting. And if you do, there’s a very good chance that I hadn’t thought about them or the subjects they covered enough.
Update: The theatre company behind the production has since changed the image of Rufus to one of him without eyeliner and wearing feathers
‘Hell, I put out a Comedy Central Special that was almost entirely about oral sex and when I watch it back (I have done this only once in the last 6 years) there’s stuff I wish I hadn’t said, or said differently or just flat out don’t like.’
He continued: ‘My point is this. For the last few years, I have largely absented myself from the pop mainstream. Stopped doing panel shows, only went on quizzes when I could win money for charities etc. Theatre’s what I’ve been doing and that comes at enormous personal cost.
‘Cost of time, money and relationships. But I LOVE it. As anyone who knew me from birth to 19 and they’ll tell you. It’s all I ever wanted to do. And now I get to do it. Or did, before… y’know….’
He branded his past tweets ‘stupid and hurtful’, writing: ‘If anything I’ve said or tweeted in the past was stupid or hurtful, it’s because I can be stupid and hurtful. I, sincerely, try to understand and do better. Ask anyone who knows me. I am not short of thinking. Paralysingly, sometimes.
Response: Ahead of the report on his historic tweets, Hound shared a link to tweets originally posted in September 2020, in which he responded to criticism of his posts
‘I’m not aware of anything specific coming my way, hand on heart. This isn’t one of those moments where my publicist has phoned me and said they’ve found my prints on the body (I don’t even have a publicist. Well, I did but they died in mysterious circumstances. And I wear gloves)
‘… it’s more that I just want to say people change. People grow. People improve. Whilst I still have endless improvements to make, undoubtedly, I’m trying.
‘So, if a load of old s**t I came out with years ago offends you or upsets you, know that there’s a very good chance it offends and upsets me too, which is why I stopped saying it.’
He continued: ‘I believe in equality of opportunity, in love as a superpower, in women. I believe you should be free to do anything you like as long as it doesn’t endanger the physical wellbeing of other people.
Regret: He branded his past tweets ‘stupid and hurtful’, writing: ‘If anything I’ve said or tweeted in the past was stupid or hurtful, it’s because I can be stupid and hurtful’
‘I believe that who you are and who you choose to be should be met with kindness by the world. I believe no one person has any more intrinsic value than any other. I believe we should be working together to make the world a better place for all of humankind.
‘I believe we can all be better if we choose to be and shouldn’t be defined by our worst days. I believe that, when all is said and done, Salt and Vinegar Squares are the absolute best crisps.’
‘And all I can ask you to think of me is this: Imperfect man, trying to be kind, sane and funny in an unkind, mad, bleak world. Thank you for coming to my [bloa]TED [sense of self regard] talk x.’
Hound added at the time: ‘I believe we can all be better if we choose to be and shouldn’t be defined by our worst days’
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