Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel was blasted for what critics call a “non-apology” addressing his history of wearing blackface.
On Tuesday, just one day after Fox News obtained audio of his 1996 use of the N-word in a song impersonating Snoop Dogg, Kimmel issued a statement to Fox News about his use of blackface during his tenure hosting “The Man Show” in the early 2000s, most notably while impersonating former NBA star Karl Malone.
“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. 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 began his statement.
“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. In each case, I thought of them as impersonations of celebrities and nothing more,” Kimmel said in the statement. “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.”
While the “Jimmy Kimmel Live” host insisted that he has “evolved” since his days on the Comedy Central program, he claimed that his past use of blackface “will be used to try to quiet me.”
“I won’t be bullied into silence by those who feign outrage to advance their oppressive and genuinely racist agendas,” Kimmel vowed.
He added, “Thank you for giving me an opportunity to explain and to those I’ve disappointed, I am sorry.”
However, the late-night host was slammed for drawing so much focus on his critics he suggests are the real racists instead of reflecting on his own misdeeds.
“People aren’t ‘feigning outrage,’ you disingenuous fraud @jimmykimmel,” Donald Trump Jr. told the ABC star. “We’re pointing out the utter hypocrisy of you & your lib friends always trying to cancel YOUR political enemies, but refusing to hold yourselves to the same woke standards. This ‘apology’ proves that point.”
“Kimmel went with the Weinstein ‘I’m fighting the NRA defense,'” conservative commentator Stephen Miller reacted, referring to disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein’s initial response to the sexual assault allegations.
“Spare us, Jimmy. You’ve called for the destruction of people for lesser offenses. You think ‘I know my motives, and I’m not racist. It was a joke,’ but you’ve torched those who said the same exact thing. You shouldn’t be canceled, but the people before you shouldn’t have either,” The Blaze’s Jessica Fletcher wrote.
“This reads a bit like ‘how dare you hold me to the same standard the @washingtonpost applies to randos, you racists,'” Hot Air senior editor Ed Morrisey said, invoking the criticized report about the Washington Post who recently targeted a woman who wore blackface at a staffer’s Halloween party in 2018.
Amid the national dialogue following the death of George Floyd, virtually every aspect of American culture is being revisited through the lens of racial sensitivity from monuments and statues, iconic food brands, to every form of entertainment. And Jimmy Kimmel is no exception.
Back in 2018, Kimmel pleaded to comedian Tom Arnold, who was promising at the time the existence of a tape showing President Trump using the N-word during his time hosting “The Apprentice.”
However, it appears a tape exists showing Kimmel using the N-word. Several times.
Just days after Kimmel announced that he was taking the summer off from his show, Fox News obtained audio of a song he recorded imitating Snoop Dogg on a 1996 comedic Christmas album, “A Family Christmas In Your A–,” which came out of the “Kevin & Bean” radio show that aired on KROQ-FM in California.
In the Christmas track, a singer mentioned a “fat n—- in a sleigh giving sh— away,” referring to Santa Claus. The song also referenced “n—– in the manger,” including associates of King Herod.
“I told that motherf—er Santa, bring a pick for my afro,” the singer went on. The “three wise men” were described as “bringing gifts and sh– for baby boo in the hay.”
“Me and my n—– down in LBC, we’ll smoke that motherf—— Christmas tree,” Kimmel said.
Liner notes from the cassette, obtained by Fox News, showed the album was co-produced by “Jim Kimmel” and credited Kimmel for all “comedy material” on the album, except for a handful of unrelated tracks. Kimmel also appeared on the album cover.
In a January 2013 podcast, Kimmel recalled recording the song, saying “This is when Snoop Dogg first came out, hit the scene, and I used to imitate him by only saying, ‘You know what I’m saying?'”
“Jimmy, do you only do black people?” someone asks on the podcast.
“I prefer them, yes,” Kimmel responds, apparently jokingly.
During the same podcast, he also shared his imitation of black comedian George Wallace and recalled how he “called the president of Comedy Central” from a New York City hotel room after he and friends had been drinking.
While Kimmel’s apology doesn’t specifically address his past use of the N-word, it does address his past use of wearing blackface on “The Man Show,” where he wore dark makeup while impersonating Karl Malone and daytime talk show host Oprah Winfrey.
Earlier this month, the ABC star addressed his own “white privilege” amid the national dialogue about the death of George Floyd.
“You hear the phrase ‘white privilege’ and it’s easy to get defensive. The first time I heard it, I did,” Kimmel said. “To me, white privilege was like what Donald Trump had – a wealthy father and a silver spoon in his mouth. It wasn’t what I grew up with, so I rejected it because I didn’t understand what white privilege meant, but I think I do now…”
He continued: “Here’s what I think it is: people who are white, we don’t have to deal with negative assumptions being made about us based on the color of our skin… whereas black people experience that every day, like every day.
“And please don’t tell me you don’t ever make assumptions about people based on the color of their skin because I don’t believe it. We all do, I know I have, I’m embarrassed to say it, but I have.”
Kimmel’s racially charged humor isn’t the only type of comedy that has been called out by critics. The depiction of women on “The Man Show” has not aged well in the era of the #MeToo movement.
Days after sexual misconduct allegations emerged against disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein, an old clip from “The Man Show” surfaced showing Kimmel having women on the street play a game where they had to guess what’s in his pants using their hands.
In the clip, Kimmel suggests to one woman to “use two hands” and jokingly told another, “maybe it’d be easier if you put your mouth on it.”
During an exchange with another woman, he asked how old she was. She said she was “18.”
“Are you sure?” Kimmel responded. “Because Uncle Jimmy doesn’t need to do time.”
As one contestant aggressively felt his pants with her hands, he jokingly told her “You’re gonna make a fine wife.”
Kimmel, who is still set to host the Emmy Awards this fall despite the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, announced on his show last Thursday that he was taking a hiatus to spend time with his family.
“There’s nothing wrong me, my family is healthy, I’m healthy,” Kimmel assured his viewers. “I just need a couple of months off. So, while I’m gone, a cavalcade of very kind and capable people will be filling in for me. I think you’re going to be very happy with them. They will be guest hosting the show.“
The “Jimmy Kimmel Live” host also appears to be laying low on Twitter, showing no activity since Saturday.
Fox News’ Brian Flood and Gregg Re contributed to this report.