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Jimmy Kimmel faces #CancelKimmel backlash after footage emerges of him rapping N-word

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 23/06/2020 Margaret Abrams
Jimmy Kimmel wearing a suit and tie © Provided by Evening Standard

Jimmy Kimmel has released a lengthy statement in response to facing #CancelKimmel backlash after footage emerged of him rapping N-word and wearing blackface.

He said, "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."

He explained that "on KROQ radio in the mid-90s, I did a recurring impression of the NBA player Karl Malone...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."

He also said that "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."

In his statement, he explained that he has "evolved and matured over the last twenty-plus years, and I hope that is evident to anyone who watches my show."

Jimmy Kimmel standing on a stage: (Getty Images) © Provided by Evening Standard (Getty Images)

Twitter users called for the cancellation of his show Jimmy Kimmel Live! after footage emerged of the talk show host using the N-word and in blackface.

At the time of writing, more than 24,000 tweets have been posted under #CancelKimmel, calling to end his talk show after a song resurfaced where he impersonates Snoop Dogg and raps the N-word.

In the 1996 song, ‘Christmastime in the LBC,’ he raps lines including ‘fat N-word in a sleigh, giving s**t away" and "Me and my N-word down in LBC, we'll smoke that motherf***ing Christmas tree."

The conservative news network Fox also unearthed audio from 2013 where Kimmel imitates black comedian George Wallace and says the N-word six times.

Donald Trump Jr., who previously shared a racist tweet about Kamala Harris, also weighed in. He tweeted “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.”

More resurfaced footage shows Kimmel making an awkward joke after Megan Fox discusses her time working with Michael Bay on Bad Boys II. The interaction has been perceived negatively on Twitter.

This wasn’t his only recent controversy - before he hosted the Emmy Awards, footage came out showing him playing NBA player Karl Malone in a sketch on The Man Show with blackface.

He’s not the only late-night talk show to come under fire for past behavior. Jimmy Fallon was called out for wearing blackface in past sketches.

Kimmel recently announced that he’s taking the summer off from filming his show. In his statement, he said that his summer vacation has been planned for more than a year and included taking the next two summers off.

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