Rob Thomas is back in the news, but not for the best of reasons. The former Matchbox Twenty singer is on an online apology tour for an attempt at a joke he made while performing in Australia that didn't go over too well.
"When you get on the plane on your way here, you start drinking. And then I drink until I think I'm Australian," Thomas told a crowd during a concert in Melbourne on Saturday. "And then I keep drinking until I think I'm a black Australian."
That line was reportedly met with some laughs but also some groans, boos and shouts of, "Don't be racist." But he pressed on. "Then I drink until I think I'm a pretty little girl," he continued. "And then my wife starts to get worried about me and I stop drinking for a minute."
By Sunday, Thomas was occupying himself with trying to make amends for his poor word choices.
"First, please understand that I did not intend to make a joke about race. 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 posted to his Facebook page.
"The joke I made was meant to be at no one's expense but my own. I made a comment about drinking so much on the long flight over that I started to think I was something I'm not," he explained. "These were three things I chose at random to represent three 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."
Thomas goes on to explain that he thought the groans in response were actually from racist people in the crowd. He also admitted that he "sat in my room and I cried when I found out" that the phrase "black Australian" has racist connotations.