For many reasons, Harvey Weinstein hasn't been reduced a late-night punch line.
Over the course of several weeks, multiple women in Hollywood have come forward to accuse the producer of sexual assault, sexual harassment and rape. Jimmy Kimmel and other TV hosts have been criticized for being "soft" with their Weinstein commentary, and in a wide-ranging profile for New York, published Sunday, Kimmel defended his decision to focus on other topics.
(Weinstein's lawyer has repeatedly denied allegations of non-consensual sex.)
Kimmel, perhaps more so than his counterparts, took heat for his perceived silence about the sexual misconduct allegations, as he had spoken passionately about other controversial subjects, like gun control and healthcare. "I guess now I'm supposed to comment on everything that happens?" he asked sarcastically. "And by the way, it's not just from the right. Now I see it from the left, 'Aren't you going to say anything about fill-in-the-blank?' That's not what I do, and if I did, believe me, you'd get bored in a hurry. The Harvey Weinstein thing makes no sense: This perception that the right has spread around that I've not made any jokes about it is false."
And, according to Kimmel, "Facts don't seem to be of interest to anyone."
Jimmy Kimmel Live! tapes Monday through Thursday, and The New York Times' exposé, in which actress Ashley Judd and others first publicly accused Weinstein of sexual harassment, was published Thursday afternoon. "I didn't see the Weinstein story break till shortly before the show started on a Thursday night, and then we had a rerun on Friday, so that's why it wasn't mentioned in our monologue. We would've had to go back and rewrite the whole show, and we're not going to do that for someone who was then not even known to 90 percent of the country," he said. "I have no interest in protecting Harvey Weinstein. I couldn't care less about Harvey Weinstein. Hopefully, he will get what he deserves and we'll all move on with our lives."
Kimmel hopes the Weinstein scandal "will make the guys who do this kind of thing think twice." He would rather not speculate on matters involving Weinstein, as he feels doing so would be irresponsible. "I remember hearing one story about Harvey, but it seemed designed to tarnish an actress," he said. "It was about some actress trading a sexual favor to get into a movie, and I always just assumed that it was probably untrue, and it was none of my business either way."
Kimmel will "probably" comment on Weinstein when he hosts the 2018 Oscars, though he predicted it will be in a limited capacity. "It's not really a laughing matter. There'll be a lot of people in that room who maybe have been through experiences with him," he explained to New York, "and that's not something I want them to relive on the night they get their Oscar."