Another day, another late-night talk show host has to say sorry for donning blackface.
Jimmy Kimmel is now apologizing after footage from the 90s of the late-night talk show in blackface pretending to be retired NBA superstar, Karl Malone, in an old sketch from The Man Show. In a statement to Page Six, the 52-year-old comedian said:
“I apologize to those who were genuinely hurt or offended by the makeup I wore or the words I spoke.”
Kimmel further added:
“I never considered that this might be seen as anything other than an imitation of a fellow human being. 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.”
In another statement obtained by CNN, Kimmel explained why he waited so long to address the issue saying, “That delay was a mistake.”
“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.”
“On KROQ radio in the mid-90s, I did a recurring impression of the NBA player Karl Malone,” he continued, adding “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. 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.”
Kimmel is also facing backlash for his Snoop Dogg impersonation in the song “Christmastime in the LBC,” where he can be heard using foul language and saying the N-word.
In the song Kimmel raps:
“Me and my n—— down in LBC, we’ll smoke that motherf***er Christmas tree.”
Kimmel is not alone, Jimmy Fallon issued an apology back in May after footage of him rocking blackface in an SNL skit resurfaced. Just recently, 30 Rock pulled episodes that featured blackface. Star of the show Tina Fey issued a memo about the decision:
“As we strive to do the work and do better in regards to race in America, we believe that these episodes featuring actors in race-changing makeup are best taken out of circulation. I understand now that ‘intent’ is not a free pass for white people to use these images. I apologize for pain they have caused. Going forward, no comedy-loving kid needs to stumble on these tropes and be stung by their ugliness. I thank NBC Universal for honoring this request.”
Photo: Getty Images / Getty