Jimmy Kimmel Apologizes for "Embarrassing" Blackface Sketches

Jimmy Kimmel has broken his silence after a resurfaced clip featured the late-night host using the N-word. Find out what he’s saying about the controversial moment.

By Mike Vulpo Jun 23, 2020 5:37 PMTags
Jimmy Kimmel, 2018 Oscars, ShowRob Latour/REX/Shutterstock

Jimmy Kimmel is speaking out after blackface sketches featuring the late-night host resurfaced online. 

On Tuesday morning, the Jimmy Kimmel Live host released a statement and expressed regret for his actions.

"I have long been reluctant to address this, as I knew doing so would be celebrated as a victory by those who equate apologizes with weakness and cheer for leaders who use prejudice to divide us.  That delay was a mistake," he shared in a statement to E! News. "There is nothing more important to me than your respect, and I apologize for those who were genuinely hurt or offended by the makeup I wore or the words I spoke."

Jimmy continued, "On KROQ radio in the mid-90s, I did a recurring impression of the NBA player Karl Malone. 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 thoughtfulness moments have become a weapon used by some to diminish my criticism of social and other injustices."

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Earlier this week, Fox News obtained audio from a Christmas album titled A Family Christmas in Your Ass. The project, which originally came out on KROQ's former "Kevin & Bean" radio show in California, includes Jimmy's impersonation of Snoop Dogg's "Christmastime in the LBC." In audio posted by Fox News, Jimmy can be heard using the N-word on more than one occasion when performing the track. 

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"I believe that I have evolved and matured over the last twenty-plus years and I hope that is evident to anyone who watches my show. I know that this will not be the last I hear of this and that it will be used again to try to quiet me," Jimmy shared. "I love this country too much to allow that. I won't be bullied into silence by those who feign outrage to advance their oppressive and genuinely racist agendas."

Earlier this month, Jimmy announced that he will be taking a break from his ABC late-night show.

"I'm taking the summer off to spend even more time with my family," he shared. "I've been doing this job for almost 18 years, I've done 3,130 shows and there's nothing wrong my family is healthy. I'm healthy. I just need a couple of months off." 

And after his staff takes a two-week vacation, the show will resume on July 6 with famous faces serving as guest hosts.

ABC

"My summer vacation has been planned for more than a year and includes the next two summers off as well," Jimmy explained in his latest statement. "I will be back to work in September. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to explain to those I've disappointed, I am sorry." 

During his summer break, Jimmy will also likely be preparing for another major gig. 

Earlier this month, ABC announced that the late-night star will return as host of the 2020 Emmy Awards set to air September 20. He will also serve as executive producer.

"I don't know where we will do this or how we will do this or even why we are doing this, but we are doing it and I am hosting it," Jimmy shared in a statement.