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Comedy Central Backs New 'Daily Show' Host Despite Insensitive Tweets

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Yesterday, we told you about "The Daily Show's" new host, Trevor Noah. Today, there is controversy about his appointment. Over the years, turns out he posted a series of jokes on Twitter about overweight women and Jewish people and other subjects that many people found offensive. Comedy Central is standing by him. This is a story about setting boundaries in a business where people are supposed to break them. Here's NPR TV critic Eric Deggans.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: When he takes over "The Daily Show" later this year, Trevor Noah will have a cross-cultural life story like no other late-night TV host, including jokes about growing up the son of a black South African mother and white Swiss father during apartheid.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TREVOR NOAH: My mom was arrested for being with my dad. She would get fined. She would get thrown into prison for the weekend. But still, she'd come back, and she's like woo, I don't care. I don't care. I want a white man, woo. And my dad was also like, well, you know how the Swiss love chocolate, so he was...

DEGGANS: But Noah is facing accusations of cultural insensitivity for a series of tweets, some posted far back as 2009, making fun of overweight women and Jews. Some critics online say the tweets revealed sexism and anti-Semitism. Comedy Central's written statement supports the 31-year-old comic, saying, quote, "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." The channel has not said when he will take over for "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart, who announced he's leaving the show this year. Eric Deggans, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.