The recent announcement that British actor Joseph Fiennes was cast as Michael Jackson in an upcoming TV movie raised lots of skeptical eyebrows. In the midst of a raging controversy about the lack of diversity at this year’s Academy Awards, it seemed tone-deaf to cast a white actor to play one of the most famous black men in recent American history. Fiennes defended his casting to Entertainment Tonight by saying, “Jackson definitely had an issue, a pigmentation issue,” and “he was probably closer to my color than his original color.” As Trevor Noah pointed out on Wednesday night’s episode of The Daily Show, just because Jackson’s skin color changed doesn’t mean he ever stopped being African-American.
“That is not how being black works,” Noah said. “Just because your outside appearance changes doesn’t mean your DNA does. Does anyone say, ‘Oh, The Situation used to be white’? No they don’t say that. Just because he’s orange now doesn’t mean he’s not white anymore.”
However, Noah concluded the bit by Photoshopping a wig, sunglasses, and jacket onto Fiennes, and being surprised by the results.
“That undermined me, go away,” Noah said upon seeing the finished work.
Watch the clip below.