What was this racist comment Rob Thomas made? The Matchbox Twenty lead singer was booed for making a racist joke about Australians while performing live on stage. The media went berserk after a minute-long clip of Rob Thomas telling this joke went viral, and very soon, people’s rage on social media took a toll on the singer. Thomas later apologized through Facebook as he elaborately explained his foolishness in his posts. Thomas mentioned how he was unaware about the ethnic tensions in Australia, and how he cried backstage when he got to know what went wrong and how.
This happened last Friday (February 19) when the band was performing in Melbourne, Australia as a pit stop of their tour. The clip shows Rob chatting with crowd, addressing the band’s Australian fans. A breakdown of Rob’s comments starts off with, “I came from New York, which is a very far… trip… and, I’ve been doing it for so long that I’ve got the jet lag figured out. [sic]” As Rob spoke about the long air travel from America to Australia, he shared his trick to managing a tiring bout of jet lag. Rob said, “What you do is, when you get on the plane all the way here [in Australia], you start drinking.” The whole crowd went wild for this joke, which at that point, was still funny enough to laugh at.
Thomas then continued, “And then I drink till I think I’m Australian.” The Australian crowd still kept up with his not-so-subtle remark about them and even applauded him for this playful dig. Rob took a pause to soak in this response and then uttered the now infamous racism slur, saying, “And then I keep drinking till I’m a black Australian!” That’s when things took a turn for the worst, with Australians giving the singer an uproar of booing coming in from all sides of the arena. Rob then called out, “That’s racist!” to the crowd, and miserably completed his joke with, “And then I drank so much I thought I was a little Australian girl.”
Now, when you’re performing on foreign grounds and if you insult their people by pairing a joke about their cultural habits with their cultural disputes, there’s no doubt you will face the gun’s barrel. And Rob Thomas was no exception. Australians and people around the world who watched the clip started decrying Rob’s racist joke on social media. Tweets started pouring in on Rob’s account, trashing him for his crass comments on the indigenous population of Australia. People did not like how Rob likened drinking and alcoholism to an entire nation. And on top of that, he linked all that with a stereotypical smear of insulting colored Australians.
Rob had a meltdown as soon as he felt his silly statement’s outcry, and apologized to Australians and everyone else who was offended. Rob wrote, “After the show in Melbourne tonight while backstage with some of my Australian friends, it was brought to my attention that I said something that is racist and insensitive. Please understand that although it is no excuse, I was completely unaware that in Australia there is a polarizing social issue happening right now involving indigenous people and alcohol…”
The singer further explained his negligent mistake, writing, “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… I was so ignorant to the situation that when I heard people groan I actually thought THEY were being racist. I didn’t know until TODAY that just the phrase ‘black Australian’ was racist all on its own. I sat in my room and I cried when I found out.” Since then, Rob Thomas’ racial joke has been outrageously trending everywhere, bringing him into an unfavorable spotlight of global scrutiny.
Photos: Facebook/Rob Thomas
Video: Youtube/LCA Exclusive