(JTA) — Jon Stewart defended his named “Daily Show” successor Trevor Noah against a wave of criticism that found some of his past tweets insensitive toward Jews.
“My experience with him is that he is an incredibly thoughtful and considerate and funny and smart individual, and I think if you give him that time it’s going to be well worth it,” Stewart said Monday night on the show.
The day after Noah was announced as Stewart’s successor on March 30, the South African standup comedian came under fire for tweets such as “South Africans know how to recycle like Israel knows how to be peaceful” and “Messi gets the ball and the real players try foul him [sic], but Messi doesn’t go down easy, just like jewish[sic] chicks.”
B’nai B’rith and the Anti-Defamation League issued statements urging Noah not to perpetuate Jewish stereotypes when he takes over “The Daily Show.”
Stewart asked fans not to judge the 31-year-old Noah on a handful of past tweets.
“I can say this without hesitation: Trevor Noah will earn your trust and respect – or not,” Stewart said. “Just as I earned your trust and respect – or did not. I do hope you give him an opportunity to earn that trust and respect.”
Comedy Central has defended its choice of host as well in the days immediately following the announcement.
“Like many comedians, Trevor Noah pushes boundaries; he is provocative and spares no one, himself included,” the network said in a statement. “To judge him or his comedy based on a handful of jokes is unfair. Trevor is a talented comedian with a bright future at Comedy Central.”
Noah also responded to the backlash on Twitter.
“To reduce my views to a handful of jokes that didn’t land is not a true reflection of my character, nor my evolution as a comedian,” he wrote on March 31.