Rob Thomas Apologises For Racist Comments Made During Melbourne Gig

22 February 2016 | 12:23 pm | Staff Writer

Singer issues statement on Facebook.

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US singer/songwriter Rob Thomas has issued two separate statements over the weekend in which he has apologised for making racist comments during his show in Melbourne on Saturday night. 

During the first show of his national tour at Rod Laver Arena, Thomas joked with the crowd about how he overcomes jet lag.

"What you do is, when you get on the plane on your way here, you start drinking. And then I drink until I think I'm Australian. And then I keep drinking until I think I'm a black Australian."

While the joke resulted in some of the audience booing Thomas' comments, the show went on and shortly after the Matchbox Twenty frontman addressed the incident on his Facebook page, where he claims he was informed by Australian friends that what he said was racist.

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"Please understand that although it is no excuse, I was completely unaware that in Australia there is a polarizing social issue happening right now involving indigenous people and alcohol," Thomas said.

"When I was made aware of it, the ground fell out beneath me, and I realized that people may now see me as the exact opposite of who I am. I'm sitting here in my hotel room completely gutted that a joke that I made was much more relevant to the times in Australia than I realized."

Yesterday, Thomas issued another apology to his Facebook page, after many fans slammed the artist for his ignorance of Australian culture. 

"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," he wrote.

"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."

Thomas promised fans that he would make an effort to learn about the country's history and culture. 

"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!"

Check out the posts below.


After the show in Melbourne tonight while backstage with some of my Australian friends, it was brought to my attention...

Posted by Rob Thomas on Saturday, 20 February 2016

I would like to take an opportunity to further explain the comments I made in Melbourne last night. First, please...

Posted by Rob Thomas on Sunday, 21 February 2016

Meanwhile a number of Aussie musicians have weighed in on the debate, including indigenous rapper, Briggs. 

Taking to his Facebook yesterday, he wrote, "Well, I guess I'm just going to drink until Rob Thomas sounds good.#‎Smooth‬"


Well, I guess I'm just going to drink until Rob Thomas sounds good. #Smooth

Posted by Briggs on Saturday, 20 February 2016

For details on Thomas' Australian tour dates, head to theGuide.