"The Daily Show with Trevor Noah‘s" namesake host drew attention last week for his interview with conservative pundit Tomi Lahren and his subsequent interactions with her. Noah addressed the response during an appearance on "The Breakfast Club" yesterday (December 7).
"I completely get if somebody is in a situation where they go, ‘I don’t appreciate that, I don’t think you should give these people any airtime,’" Noah said. "Two things you’re mistaking: one, I do not believe that we’re in a situation where we’re providing exposure for a person that has hundreds of millions of views on their videos. … So, you’re not providing a platform for this person. What you’re doing is, you’re trying to get into their space and talk to them as a person, but more importantly, you’re trying to talk to the people that would never hear you in the first place."
Noah went on to use the mash-up album by Jay Z and rap-rock group Linkin Park as an example of a strategic crossover with dual audience exposure. "Think about how many people became fans of Jay Z after the Linkin Park thing, and then the other way around as well," he said. "Now it doesn’t mean you have to agree, but at least you’re in a world where you are hearing an opposing view as opposed to those statistics that are being spewed out over and over again."
The South African comedian and "The Breakfast Club" co-host Charlamagne Tha God were each separately photographed with Lahren last week. Critics from publications including Ebony, Very Smart Brothas and Spin took the men to task for allowing a White woman with anti-Black viewpoints (she once equated the Black Lives Matter movement with the Ku Klux Klan) the space to legitimize her viewpoints. That criticism also manifest in social media backlash:
Deeply disappointed to hear Trevor is buddies with Tomi Lahren. That’s just normalization of her white supremacist ideals.
— X (@XLNB) December 2, 2016
It’s not surprising that Charlamagne & Trevor Noah dont see Tomi Lahren as racist. That should show you how much racism has evolved.
— The Bonnet Whisperer (@DrTGIF) December 8, 2016
Charlamagne The God separately provoked ire for suggesting that no young Black or Latina women use social media to promote a counterpoint to Lahren’s message.
"I don’t subscribe to giving racists the benefit of the doubt, but if Charlamagne believes he can change Lahren’s mind, so be it," wrote Ebony’s Britni Danielle. "However, what he’s not going do, at least on my watch, is praise the controversial pundit while simultaneously ignoring—and erasing—the efforts of Black women who continue to put in work without receiving a proportionate amount props."
Franchesca Ramsey, mentioned in Danielle’s essay as an example, also responded to Charlamagne:
not to mention Tomi didn’t create her platform. she was hired by the Blaze @cthagod
— Franchesca Ramsey (@chescaleigh) December 7, 2016
Noah also addressed photos TMZ published of him and Lahren drinking together, insisting that it was a meeting set up by their producers (who were cropped out of the photo) to say that he didn’t agree with the misogynistic language critics directed at Lahren after the interview.
Noah also talk about his new book, "Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood," which discusses his childhood in and immediately after apartheid, as well as the illegality of his birth to a Black mother and White father under those laws.
Watch the full "The Breakfast Club" interview above, and let us know what you think in the comments.