'I was trying to make people laugh. I'm sorry that I did this,' says Jimmy Kimmel
US Comedian Jimmy Kimmel and the ABC network have apologised to the Chinese community, drawing mixed reactions
Both US comedian Jimmy Kimmel and the ABC television network have repeatedly apologised for airing a skit that suggested America should “kill everyone in China,” drawing mixed reactions from an angered Chinese community.
Originally aired on 16 October, the skit was featured in the “Kid’s Table” section of Kimmel’s late night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live and instantly drew criticism, with many saying that it was in poor taste at best and hate speech at worst.
Video: The original “Kid’s Table” skit
In the wake of a White House petition that received over 79,000 signatures as well as repeated protests by Chinese in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, both Kimmel and the ABC network have apologised, removed the footage of the skit from Youtube and agreed to never air “Kid’s Table” again.
An ABC statement released on 28 October said that the network “would never purposefully broadcast anything to upset the Chinese community,” and Kimmel apologised on his show that evening, saying that it was “certainly not [his] intent to upset anyone.”
Video: Kimmel apologises on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Kimmel made additional apologies in the aftermath of a protest outside of the Jimmy Kimmel Live Hollywood studio on 31 October, and added that he “personally guaranteed” that an incident of this magnitude would not happen again.
“I come to you with nothing but love in my heart,” Kimmel explained to angry protesters. “I’m a comedian; I was trying to make people laugh. I’m sorry that I did this.”
Video: Kimmel apologises again outside Hollywood studio
The comedian’s apologies have received a mixed reaction from the Chinese community, and a Facebook group entitled Investigate Jimmy Kimmel “Kid’s Table” Show on ABC Network has continued its original plans of organising protests throughout the following weeks in the American cities of San Jose, Dallas, Houston, Seattle and Boston.
Many have called the apologies “insincere,” asked for the firing of Kimmel and re-iterated that both Chinese immigrants and American-born-Chinese citizens alike need to receive more respect from mainstream US media.
“We need a sincere apology,” wrote Yvonne Wei, a poster on the Facebook group. “It’s not only Jimmy [that has] attacked our people. In fact, CNN, FOX, and other [American television] networks always attack us. We need to make an example.”
“A [better] apology would be: ‘On a recent episode of our show we did something very wrong and very reprehensible. We made a joke out of killing Chinese people. We made it sound like genocide was in some cases cool and funny,’” wrote Xiang Ma, another poster. “[Genocide] is anathema to everything the USA stands for - which is that ‘all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’”
Others argued that apologies from Kimmel and ABC were enough, and the protests no longer needed to continue.
“ABC is not going to fire Jimmy Kimmel,” wrote a poster named Lisa Lee. “So if that is [the] goal here, I feel it is a losing battle and by continuing to fight that fight [the Chinese community] becomes the bully and the American public sympathises with Jimmy Kimmel… If we continue protesting him publicly, we force the American public to defend him. Again, I urge you all to stop while we're ahead on this one issue. We can still take action in this general cause by pursuing different avenues, but these public protests with these signs must stop.”
“I am thinking about how serious this thing is,” wrote another named Rachel Liu. “Everyone make mistakes… There is no need [for] ‘You must fire Jimmy Kimmel’. That shows Chinese people are mean and never forgive. Remember, everyone makes mistakes.”