South African comedian Trevor Noah was this week named as the surprise choice to succeed Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show when he steps down.

But almost immediately after the 31-year-old's appointment was announced, tweets that he had written in previous years resurfaced that led to questions about his suitability for the job.

And in one now deleted tweet from 2009, he wrote: "Almost bumped a Jewish kid crossing the road. He didn't look b4 crossing but I still would hav felt so bad in my german car."

But network Comedy Central has since backed Noah, describing him as a "talented comedian with a bright future".

"Like many comedians, Trevor Noah pushes boundaries; he is provocative and spares no one, himself included," a statement added. "To judge him or his comedy on a handful of jokes is unfair."

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