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Trevor Noah Responds to French Ambassador’s Angry Letter After Joking Africa Won World Cup Instead of France

Trevor Noah is apparently feuding with the French ambassador to the U.S. over a joke he made on Monday about France’s World Cup victory.

In a released behind the scenes clip, Noah shared a letter he received from French Amb. Gérard Araud in reaction to a joke he made declaring that “Africa” won the World Cup instead of France since several of the team’s players are of African descent. And according to Noah, “a lot” of French people were angry at him, including one particular diplomat.

Here is what Araud wrote to Noah:

“I watched with great attention your July 17 show when you spoke of the victory of the French team at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Final which took place last Sunday. I heard your words about an “African” victory. Nothing could be less true. As many of the players have already stated themselves, their parents may have come from another country, but the great majority of them, all but two out of 23 were born in France. They were educated in France. They learned to play soccer in France. They are French citizens. They’re proud of their country, France. The rich and various backgrounds of these players are a reflection of France’s diversity. France is indeed a cosmopolitan country but every citizen is part of the French identity and together, they belong to the nation of France. Unlike in the United States of America, France does not refer to its citizens based on their race, religion, or origin. To us, there is no hyphenated identity. Roots are an individual reality. By calling them an African team, it seems like you’re denying their French-ness. This, even in jest, legitimizes the ideology which claims whiteness is the only definition of being French.”

Speaking as a South African, Noah told his audience that black people all over the world were celebrating “the African-ness” of the French players. He then asked why these players “can’t be both” African and French.

“I love those players and I love how African they are and how French they are. I don’t take their French-ness away, but I don’t think you need to take their African-ness away,” Noah said. “That is what I love about America. America is not a perfect country, but what I love about this place is that people can still celebrate their identity in their Americanness.”

Watch the clip above, via Comedy Central.

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