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Trevor Noah, Jon Stewart's Replacement, Goes From Hero To Villain In 24 Hours

This post was last updated at 5:47 p.m.

Comedian Trevor Noah, who was named on Monday to succeed Jon Stewart as host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show, is being criticized for tweets he sent more than a year ago that critics say are sexist and anti-Semitic. Noah's defenders, including Comedy Central, are calling the criticism "unfair." Noah says that to reduce his views to a few tweets is neither a reflection of his character nor his comedic evolution.

Updated at 5:38 p.m.

Trevor Noah has responded to the criticism directed at him:

Updated at 4 p.m.

Comedy Central has now responded to the criticism directed at comedian Trevor Noah. In a statement cited by Politico, it said:

"Like many comedians, Trevor Noah pushes boundaries; he is provocative and spares no one, himself included. 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."

Our original post continues:

Trevor Noah, if you haven't heard by now, will replace Jon Stewart as host of Comedy Central's Daily Show.

Noah joined Twitter in June 2009. Since then, he has tweeted nearly 9,000 times. Among those tweets are several that mock women and Jews — tweets that critics have called sexist and anti-Semitic. Here are three ( Fair Warning: Some readers may find these offensive — or perhaps just not funny):

Reaction to the tweets, many of which were made more than a year ago, was swift on Tuesday.

Writing in Vox, Kelsey McKinney said: "A Daily Show host should be held to a higher standard than other comedians."

But others pointed out that Noah has also spoken out against prejudice — citing this Twitter interaction:

A backhanded defense came in the form of comedian Daniel Tosh:

Then there was this:

A more full-throated defense came from Caitlin Dewey in The Washington Post.

"Because human beings are, in reality, flawed: prone to errors in judgment or youthful indiscretions or drunk texts/tweets/status updates they really never should have sent. A lot of people have made bad jokes in their 20s. The only difference now is that those jokes are memorialized forever on the Internet — and readily ripped out of their chronological context, and away from their intended audience, as contemporary proof of their sender's bias or stupidity or ill intent."

Dave Weigel has written on Bloomberg Politics about how Noah went from "progressive icon to villain in 24 hours."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Krishnadev Calamur
Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.