Comedian Jimmy Kimmel has drawn ire from offended Asian Americans for a skit on his late-night talk show which jokingly suggested that Americans should deal with their debt crisis by “killing everyone in China.”
The clip in question, aired on the United States’ ABC Network on 16 October, featured a critique of the recent US government shutdown. In it, Kimmel and a group of children preside over a discussion panel titled “Kid’s Table” and spark a satirical debate over how the US should deal with the government shutdown and the debt owed to China.
Video: Jimmy Kimmel's show stirs controversy with comment about killing Chinese
One of the children’s comments that the US should “kill everyone in China” produced controversy, and critics have taken to Youtube and created a White House petition  boycotting Kimmel’s decision to air the comment on his show.
“I was very disturbed by Jimmy Kimmel’s ‘Kids Table’ show,” the White House petition reads. “It was aired on ABC recently and talked about killing all the Chinese so that the States do not need to pay back their debts to China. The kids might not know anything better. However, Jimmy Kimmel and ABC’s management are adults. They had a choice not to air this racist program, which promotes racial hatred. The program is totally unacceptable and it must be cut. A sincere apology must be issued. It is extremely distasteful and this is the same rhetoric used in Nazi Germany against Jewish people. Please immediately cut the show and issue a formal apology.”
To date, the petition has received more than 14,000 signatures, and Asian American bloggers and online magazines have echoed its criticisms.
“When Jimmy Kimmel asked the kids about what to do with the $1.3 trillion US debt to China, one boy replied: ‘Kill everyone in China,’” wrote David Li of Bostonese , an online journal servicing Boston’s Chinese community. “Jimmy Kimmel commented ‘that’s an interesting idea,’ and went on to discuss more about this idea as if there was nothing wrong with it.
“The editors and managers of ABC must have felt the same way, and aired these racist and genocidal discussions on air… Mr. Kimmel, this is not funny at all. You have missed a great opportunity to teach the boy a lesson when the senseless remarks were made.”
Not all viewers of the parody found it objectionable. While many Youtube commentators pointed out that the skit was in bad taste, others called it “hilarious” and pointed out that it had been meant as satire.
“If you feel threatened by a 5-year-old’s comments then you need to question your moral high ground,” one Youtube poster wrote. “I'm not American, [but] all this carries is entertainment value. I don't think it warrants this reaction. This kid meant no harm.”
ABC and Kimmel have yet to respond to the complaints.