After France triumphed Sunday in the FIFA World Cup, "Daily Show" host Trevor Noah was ready to celebrate.
"I'm so excited," he said on his show Monday, grinning and breaking into a little ditty. "Africa won the World Cup! Africa won the World Cup!" he sang, before joking that "you don't get that tan by hanging out in the south of France."
It was a joke you might expect from Noah, a South African native and biracial son of a white father and black mother.
But as Noah informed an audience recently in between scenes while filming his Comedy Central show, Gerard Araud, France's ambassador to the United States, didn't find the joke funny. "I heard your words about 'an African victory,' " Araud wrote in a letter the host read to his guests. "Nothing could be less true."
"Now, first of all ... I could have said they were Scandinavian," Noah joked. "That would have been less true."
Noah read more of the letter, which was posted to the French Embassy's official Facebook page, in a faux French accent. Araud noted that "all but two out of 23″ of the players "were born in France, they were educated in France, they learned to play soccer in France, they are French citizens."
Noah's full response, featured in an eight-minute clip posted to "The Daily Show's" Twitter page, didn't seem to change the ambassador's mind.
"End of the argument with @TrevorNoah," Araud tweeted Thursday morning. A representative for the French Embassy declined to comment further.
After Noah's response was shared on the "Daily Show" social media pages, fans weighed in on whether Noah's comments were warranted, and many simply agreed to disagree on the matter. Read some of their comments below.
I really like Trevor but disagree with him on this one. I think it's problematic how Americans try to impose their highly raciallized views on identity, heritage and culture on other parts of the world where the discourse has historically been quite different.— André Thiele (@andre_thiele) July 19, 2018
Is it that you guys hate Africa that much? Calling them French does not erase the past. I'm sure you call the ones who commit crimes "African immigrants"— Yusuf (@Joebogonko) July 19, 2018
It's not about hating africa. It's about integration. Naming a citizen by his origins is considered as racist because it would mean that the person has failed to integrate into the society. Now we talk a lot about africa because the overwhelming majority are from there^^— Drunk cow 🐮 ⭐⭐ (@flodjX) July 19, 2018
The players should be Proud of their African roots and never forget where they come from. But they are where they were born, raised and educated, they are French and Les Bleus won the World Cup. Simple.— Benoit Andreani (@bandreani) July 19, 2018
Trevor you are awesome and anyone who knows about the French players know that some of them(betterplayers)are newly immigrants to France even president Macron said as much! you said nothing but the truth— #NeverAgain (@LauraDoza44) July 19, 2018
Not true. When Zidane got a red card in final against Italy. The team finished at ten and lost. Nobody called him Algerian and huge majority of French people defended him. (and yes they're French and of African descent. But France won the world cup : P )— Christine de Sérail (@ChristineSerail) July 19, 2018
Who said they are not proud to be French? Africans are just proud that France won the world cup with a majority of players whos roots and DNA originate from the AFRICAN continent.— josei kafunda (@joseik31) July 19, 2018
Yeah. But for instance, white people in the team have Portuguese or Spanish roots. Yet nobody mentionned it! Why? Because when you’re white it doesn’t matter?— Team LSSC (@TeamLSSC) July 19, 2018
Color shouldn’t be a issue. They’re French. Period.
Washington Post and IOL Entertainment