Jimmy Kimmel apologizes for blackface imitation of Karl Malone, slams haters for using 'thoughtless moments'
'It had no more to do with Karl’s skin color than it did his bulging muscles and bald head,' said Kimmel
In the midst of a national dialogue on systemic racism in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, late-night television host Jimmy Kimmel found himself at the center of outrage after past indiscretions came to light. Kimmel had appeared in blackface in a sketch on Comedy Central’s ‘The Man Show’ where he impersonated NBA star Karl Malone.
On Tuesday, June 23, Kimmel apologized for his actions. “I have long been reluctant to address this, as I knew doing so would be celebrated as a victory by those who equate apologies with weakness and cheer for leaders who use prejudice to divide us. That delay was a mistake,” said Kimmel. “There is nothing more important to me than your respect, and I apologize to those who were genuinely hurt or offended by the makeup I wore or the words I spoke.”
Kimmel continued, “On KROQ radio in the mid-90s, I did a recurring impression of NBA player Karl Malone. In the late 90s, I continued impersonating Malone on TV. We hired makeup artists to make me look as much like Karl Malone as possible. I never considered that this might be seen as anything other than an imitation of a fellow human being, one that had no more to do with Karl’s skin color than it did his bulging muscles and bald head.”
“I’ve done dozens of impressions of famous people, including Snoop Dogg, Oprah, Eminem, Dick Vitale, Rosie, and many others,” said Kimmel. “In each case, I thought of them as impersonations of celebrities and nothing more. Looking back, many of these sketches are embarrassing, and it is frustrating that these thoughtless moments have become a weapon used by some to diminish my criticisms of social and other injustices.”
“I believe that I have evolved and matured over the last twenty-plus years, and I hope that is evident to anyone who watches my show. I know that this will not be the last I hear of this and that it will be used again to try to quiet me. I love this country too much to allow that. I won’t be bullied into silence by those who feign outrage to advance their oppressive and genuinely racist agendas,” Kimmel said, adding, “Thank you for giving me an opportunity to explain and to those I’ve disappointed, I am sorry.”
Recently, Fox News obtained audio of a song Kimmel had recorded, imitating rap artist Snoop Dogg on a 1996 comedic Christmas album, ‘A Family Christmas In Your A**’. In the Christmas track, Kimmel reportedly used the N-word. Following this, the hashtag “CancelJimmy” made the rounds on Twitter where several people called the late-night television host a racist.
Even Donald Trump Jr slammed the late-night talk show host on Monday, June 22, over his use of the N-word. "To be clear, I’m 100% against punishing comedians for jokes, even bad jokes from unfunny hack comedians like Jimmy Kimmel… but according to the left’s own woke rules that @jimmykimmel wants to force others to live by, it’s hard to see how @ABCNetwork allows him to keep his show," Trump Jr. tweeted.