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Jimmy Fallon Apologises For ‘Unquestionably Offensive’ Blackface Impersonation Of Chris Rock

by : Julia Banim on : 27 May 2020 13:08
Jimmy Fallon Apologises For 'Unquestionably Offensive' Blackface Impersonation Of Chris RockJimmy Fallon Apologises For 'Unquestionably Offensive' Blackface Impersonation Of Chris RockNBC/jimmyfallon/Instagram

TV host Jimmy Fallon has apologised for giving an ‘unquestionably offensive’ blackface impersonation of comedian Chris Rock in 2000.

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The impersonation was part of a sketch Fallon, 45, had given during his time on Saturday Night Live (SNL), and shows him wearing dark make-up while impersonating Rock, 55.

The 20-year-old clip resurfaced and went viral on Monday, May 25, sparking the hashtag #JimmyFallonIsOverParty. In light of the clip, many people have called for Fallon to be fired from NBC’s The Tonight Show altogether.

You can watch the video for yourself below:

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Taking to Twitter in the wake of the backlash, Fallon apologised for his ‘terrible decision’, writing:

In 2000, while on SNL, I made a terrible decision to do an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface. There is no excuse for this.

I am very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive decision and thank all of you for holding me accountable.

Fallon was an SNL cast member from 1998 up until 2004, before leaving to pursue a career in the movie business. He went on to host Late Night with Jimmy Fallon before becoming the sixth permanent host of The Tonight Show in 2014.

Chris Rock was a star on SNL between the years 1990 and 1993, going on to become one of the most highly acclaimed stand-up comedians of all time.

The clip reemerged earlier this week, with Twitter users calling out the apparent hypocrisy of NBC firing Megyn Kelly while keeping Fallon.

Kelly, 48, came under fire in October 2018 after she defended white people who wore blackface as part of their Halloween costumes.

Appearing on the Today show at the time, she said:

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But what is racist? Because you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface on Halloween, or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween.

Back when I was a kid that was OK, as long as you were dressing up as, like, a character.

Later in the same segment, Kelly said:

There was a controversy on The Real Housewives of New York with Luann, and she dressed as Diana Ross, and she made her skin look darker than it really is and people said that that was racist.

And I don’t know, I felt like who doesn’t love Diana Ross? She wants to look like Diana Ross for one day. I don’t know how, like, that got racist on Halloween.

Following her comments, Kelly’s show was dropped by NBC after just one year of her three-year contract.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Film and TV, blackface, Chris Rock, Jimmy Fallon, Now, Saturday Night Live, SNL, The Tonight Show

Credits

Jimmy Fallon/Twitter and 2 others
  1. Jimmy Fallon/Twitter

    @jimmyfallon

  2. BrokenVolume/YouTube

    Jimmy Fallon Blackface

  3. Sam/Twitter

    @chefboyohdear