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French ambassador slams Trevor Noah for saying Africa won World Cup

The French ambassador to the U.S. has hit out at Trevor Noah for joking that Africa deserved the credit for France’s World Cup victory.

South African comedian Trevor Noah
South African comedian Trevor Noah

Noah said “Africa won the World Cup” in a segment on The Daily Show  on Monday, a day after France beat Croatia 4-2 in Moscow. “I get it, they have to say it’s the French team,” he joked. “But look at those guys. You don’t get that tan by hanging out in the south of France, my friends.”

The US-based South African comedian has become involved in a spat with the French ambassador to the US, Gerard Araud, over the identity of the French football team which won the World Cup.

Noah said he received a letter from Mr Araud after joking on his The Daily Show that “Africa won the World Cup”.

Mr Araud wrote that “nothing could be less true”. The “great majority” of the payers were born and educated in France, and were “proud of their country – France”.

“The rich and various background of the players is a reflection of France’s diversity,” Noah quoted Mr Araud as saying, before quipping that it was in fact a reflection of France’s “colonialism”.

Mr Araud said that France, unlike the US, did not believe in “hyphenated” identities.

“By calling them an African team, it seems you are denying their Frenchness,” Mr Araud said in the letter posted on Twitter by the French embassy:

In his response, Noah said that black people “all over the world were celebrating the Africanness of the French team – not in a negative way but in a rather positive way”.

He vehemently disagreed with the view that people could not be French and African at the same time.

“Why is that duality afforded only to a select group?” he asked, adding he did not believe that “to be French you have to erase everything that is African”.

“And if French people are saying they cannot be both, then I think they have a problem and not me,” he added.

You can watch Noah’s detailed response here: