Matchbox Twenty singer Rob Thomas would like to let you know that he’s not actually racist. He’s just really, really bad at making jokes. The New York Daily News reports that Thomas was playing a solo show in Melbourne recently when he made some ill-advised comments. From the stage, Thomas said that he’d drunk until he thought he was Australian, and then he also said that he’d kept drinking until he thought he was a black Australian. Now: Australia has a large, oppressed population of aboriginal people, and there’s a stereotype about them drinking to excess. But Thomas says he didn’t know that.
On his Facebook page, Thomas posted a long apology, claiming, “I sat in my room and cried when I found out.” Here’s what he wrote:
I would like to take an opportunity to further explain the comments I made in Melbourne last night.
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.
The joke I made was meant to be at no one’s expense but my own. I made a comment about drinking so much on the long flight over that i started to think i was something i’m not.
I said I drank until I thought I was Australian. Then I drank so much that I thought I was a black Australian and then I drank so much I thought I was a little Australian girl. These were 3 things I chose at random to represent 3 things I’m not. I’m not Australian. I’m not black and I’m not a little girl. Again, if I had any idea of the stereotype I would have chosen another example. There was absolutely no malice even in jest.
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 it’s own. I sat in my room and I cried when I found out.
If I had said it anywhere in the world my intention would have been the same. To relate 3 seemingly unrelated things that I’m not. Things that have no connection to any stereotypes whatsoever.
I am truly sorry for how this came across, most of all to the indigenous people here. Australia has been so good to me for so long that I’m embarrassed I don’t know more about the history and the culture.
While I’m here I’m going to use this opportunity to rectify that. I promise you this!
Honestly, though, “I drank so much I thought I was a little Australian girl”? What the fuck are you talking about, Rob Thomas? Get better at telling jokes or just stick to yarling.