Jimmy Kimmel Apologises For ‘Embarrassing’ Blackface And Resurfaced Snoop Dogg Impersonation
Jimmy Kimmel has apologised for using blackface to impersonate celebrities after a series of clips resurfaced online, including one in which he said ‘n*****’ while impersonating Snoop Dogg.
Despite facing weeks of criticism for not speaking up and apologising after sketches featuring the TV host resurfaced, Kimmel has only just addressed his past actions, citing a reluctance to do so for fear it ‘would be celebrated as a victory by those who equate apologies with weakness’.
The Jimmy Kimmel Live! host released a statement on Tuesday morning, June 23, in which he expressed regret for his actions while also admitting he shouldn’t have waited so long to do so. ‘That delay was a mistake,’ he said.
The host came under fire after several clips of him performing in blackface on Comedy Central’s The Man Show, which aired between 1999 and 2004, were unearthed on social media.
These particular sketches included impersonations of NBA player Karl Malone and a parody of Oprah Winfrey called ‘Oprah Jimfrey’. In his statement, Kimmel said he thought of these ‘as impersonations of celebrities and nothing more’.
The 52-year-old said there is ‘nothing more important’ to him than his fans’ respect, adding: ‘I apologise to those who were genuinely hurt or offended by the makeup I wore or the words I spoke.’
His statement read:
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 colour 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.
Kimmel went on to say that, looking back on it, ‘many of these sketches are embarrassing’, adding: ‘It is frustrating that these thoughtless moments have become a weapon used by some to diminish my criticisms of social and other injustices.’
It comes as a clip of the TV host saying the N-word while impersonating Snoop Dogg has recently resurfaced; in a podcast from 2013, Kimmel admitted to imitating the rapper on a 1996 comedy Christmas album during which he said ‘n*****’ multiple times.
In the track, which was obtained by Fox News, the person performing can be heard referencing ‘a fat n***** in a sleigh giving s*** away’, as well as a ‘n***** in the manger’. According to the original cassette, the album was co-produced by Kimmel and credits him for nearly all ‘comedy material’, including on this particular track.
Speaking about the track in 2013, the presenter was asked by podcast host Adam Carolla if he was ‘doing Snoop’, to which he agreed, explaining: ‘This is when Snoop Dogg first came out, hit the scene, and I used to imitate him by only saying, “You know what I’m saying?”‘
‘Jimmy, do you only do Black people?’ Kimmel was asked, to which he jokingly responded: ‘I prefer them, yes.’
In his recent statement, the TV host said he believed he had ‘evolved and matured over the last 20 years, and I hope that is evident to anyone who watches my show’.
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