Noah slammed over old jokes

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Hours after being announced as Jon Stewart's replacement on The Daily Show, South African comedian Trevor Noah was called anti-Semitic and sexist for some of his posts on Twitter.

On the social media site, where he has had an account since 2009 and accumulated more than two million followers, Noah often posts irreverent statements that reflect his interests in popular culture, global politics and issues of race.

In several posts, he came across as mocking or derisive of women. "Oh yeah, the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I'm sexy!" he wrote in 2011, attributing the quote to "fat chicks everywhere".

Last year, he quoted another Twitter user who wrote: "When a woman is loved correctly, she becomes 10 times the woman she was before", to which he added: "So she gets fat?"

The comedian has also posted jokes about Jews and Israel. He wrote in 2009: "Almost bumped a Jewish kid crossing the road. He didn't look b4 crossing but I still would have felt so bad in my German car!"

A post from 2010 read: "South Africans know how to recycle like Israel knows how to be peaceful."

The 31-year-old is still on board to host Comedy Central's satirical news programme The Daily Show, said a spokesman for the network.

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

The appointment of Noah- who has a black South African mother and Swiss father - on Monday was largely heralded as a departure from the norm of late-night television, traditionally dominated by white men. That perception is quickly getting overtaken by the Twitter uproar and another observation that the posts lack humour.

"This is a huge problem for Trevor Noah precisely because he has been presented as the new face of comedy who can help American comedy overcome its long history of exclusion," said Associate Professor Dustin Kidd from the sociology department at Temple University in Philadelphia.

"The tweets are disturbing and they reflect an old model of comedy that emphasised making jokes about those rendered powerless in society."

The Anti-Defamation League said in a statement that it wished Noah success, while urging him to ensure The Daily Show "remains funny and irreverent without trafficking in bigoted jokes at the expense of Jews".

The controversy raises the question of why his Twitter account was not more carefully vetted before he was named host of The Daily Show, which has a worldwide audience of fans and detractors.

Noah seemed aware of the controversy on Tuesday. He posted: "Twitter does not have enough characters to respond to all the characters on Twitter." The tweet was deleted shortly after.

 
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