First things first: Rob Thomas — that guy from Matchbox 20 and the obnoxiously catchy Santana collaboration”Smooth” that’s still in our heads from 1999 — is still around. He even has a new album! But that’s not why he’s in the news, unfortunately.
No, Thomas is making headlines for an attempted joke while performing in Australia that didn’t go overwell. “When you get on the plane on your way here, you start drinking. And then I drink till I think I’m Australian,” Thomas told a crowd during a show recently, according to TMZ. “And then I keep drinking till I think I’m a black Australian.”
That questionable line was met with groans, boos and shouts of, “Don’t be racist.” But he pressed on. “And 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.”
In response, Thomas took to Facebook to offer the requisite mea culpa. “The joke I made was meant to be at no one’s expense but my own. … I’m not Australian. I’m not black and I’m not a little girl,” he writes. “I didn’t know until today that just the phrase ‘black Australian’ was racist all on its own. I sat in my room and I cried when I found out.”