Brian Lilley deletes Jagmeet Singh tweet, apologizes for turban comments

A Toronto Sun columnist who faced backlash for a tweet about NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s turban choice is issuing an apology.

In a new tweet Friday, Brian Lilley says he deleted the previous post “that has caused controversy and been seen as insensitive.”

“That was not the intent and I apologize to those who I offended. The tweet has therefore been deleted,” he added.

Related article: Columnist’s tweet about Jagmeet Singh’s turban called out by Sikh community

His initial tweet focused on the colour turban Singh was wearing while the politician was grilling Loblaw President Galen Weston.

Lilley said it looked like Singh was wearing “his No Name turban” for the occasion, drawing a link between the yellow Loblaw uses in its “No Name” product branding.

“I know he changes the colours for special days or occasion [sic] but didn’t expect to see No Name yellow today. Is it on purpose or a coincidence?” the initial tweet continued.

A tweet put out by columnist Brian Lilley about Jagmeet Singh's turban colour has been slammed as inappropriate. It has since been deleted

A now-deleted tweet put out by columnist Brian Lilley about Jagmeet Singh’s turban colour has been slammed as inappropriate. Lilley has since apologized. (Twitter)

While Singh had not addressed the matter on social media, he took to Twitter on Friday to talk about the significance of his turban in his life.

“I’ve had lots of great conversations about why I wear a turban and what it means. But some people try to make us feel less than. I think of how that hurts kids especially,” he tweeted.

“To them I say: Be who you are. Have pride in all you bring to the table. You belong.”

Singh did not specifically name Lilley or refer to the controversial tweet.

Lilley’s initial post was slammed by many as being insensitive and inappropriate. The World Sikh Organization was among those to call Lilley out, saying the comments crossed a line.

“Extremely insensitive, inappropriate, and hurtful, and I think there’s no room in Canadian discourse for comments like that to be disseminated,” Gurpreet Kaur Rai, a spokesperson for the organization, told OMNI Television on Thursday, calling for the tweet to be deleted and for an apology.

Others, including fellow B.C. politicians federal Minister of International Development Harjit Sajjan and B.C. Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon, also came to Singh’s support.

“Check out my No Name turban,” Sajjan wrote, followed by “#RacismWillNeverBeTolerated.”

“This is beyond offensive!” Kahlon added.

CityNews reached out to Postmedia, the parent company of the Toronto Sun, for comment about the initial post but has not heard back.

-With files from OMNI News

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected to show Lilley is a Toronto Sun columnist.

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