Soon after Comedy Central confirmed that Trevor Noah would replace Jon Stewart as the host of “The Daily Show,” the network encountered a social media backlash when old tweets from the 31-year-old comedian were brought to light that made him seem, among other things, racist, anti-Semitic and sexist.
Comedy Central has since asked that fans of the liberal “news” show judge the new host for more than what he says in 140 characters or less.
“Like many comedians, Trevor Noah pushes boundaries; he is provocative and spares no one, himself included,” the Viacom-owned network said in a statement. “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.”
Examples of Noah’s Tweets include one from 2011 where he wrote “A hot white woman with ass is like a unicorn. Even if you do see one, you’ll probably never get to ride it” and one from 2014 that said “Behind every successful Rap Billionaire is a double as a rich Jewish man #BeatsbyDreidel.” He also Tweeted multiple comments about Asians, including one that read “I just saw an Asian chick so white she started dating black guys.”
News of Noah’s gig came the same day that Comedy Central aired its roast of Justin Bieber — which the network edited before airing to remove jokes about the death of “Fast and Furious” star Paul Walker after they were deemed insensitive.
UPDATE: Later on Tuesday, Noah addressed the backlash, tweeting in defense of himself.
“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,” he wrote.