The funnyman has found himself on the receiving end of rampant criticism after a controversial comment was made by a young boy during a children's skit on Jimmy Kimmel Live. In the late-night episode, which aired on Wednesday, Oct. 16, the child suggested that killing everyone in China could be the solution to America's debt problem.
"America owes China a lot of money, $1.3 trillion," Kimmel told the children, ages 5 and 6, during the skit. "How should we pay them back?"
To which one boy responded: "Shoot cannons all the way over and kill everyone in China."
"Kill everyone in China? OK, that's an interesting idea," Kimmel replied before asking, "Should we allow the Chinese to live?"
"If we don't allow them to live, then they'll try to kill us," one girl commented before the comedian ended the segment by saying:
"Well, this has been an interesting edition of Kid's Table—The Lord of the Flies edition."
Safe to say that didn't go over to well—and after the skit aired, Chinese-American groups organized several protests and a petition.
"You know, today is a weird day," Kimmel said on his show. "There seems to be a lot of people upset with me, more upset than usual."
He continued, clarifying that he didn't agree with the comments that were made by the innocent kids while apologizing for the hurt that he caused:
"I thought it was obvious that I didn't agree with that statement, but apparently it wasn't," he said. "So I just want to say I am sorry. I apologize. It was certainly not my intent to upset anyone."
And in signature Kimmel-style, he ended his apology by saying, "I'm here to turn frowns upside down."
The 45-year-old star's remarks come on the heels of ABC's apology that was issued on Saturday, Oct. 26 to 80-20 initiative, an online organization in the U.S. promoting equal opportunities to Asian Americans.
"We're writing to offer our sincere apology," ABC said in a copy of the letter obtained by the South China Morning Post. "We would never purposefully broadcast anything to upset the Chinese community, Asian community, anyone of Chinese descent or any community at large...our objective is to entertain."
ABC's senior executives added in the letter that the network had removed the controversial comment from all media platforms and would edit the comment out of any future airing of the show.
S.B. Woo, chairman of the 80-20 Initiative and of Hong Kong origin, also opened up to E! News in a statement about ABC's apology, although he has yet to comment on Kimmel's remarks:
"Personally I don't consider it as an 80-20 victory at all. Instead, it is a sad teachable moment for our community. I humbly hope that this incident has shown our community the importance of SELF RELIANCE."