After weeks of criticism, ABC nightly host Jimmy Kimmel referred to his previous use of the black face in comedy sketches and said Tuesday that he apologized “to those who really felt hurt or offended by the makeup I wore or the words I uttered. “
Kimmel, the host of “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” had previously used the black face to portray celebrities such as Karl Malone and Oprah Winfrey in “The Man Show,” a Comedy Central series he starred in between 1999 and 2003.
Kimmel said in a statement that his impersonation of Malone had begun when he was a radio presenter for KROQ in Los Angeles in the mid-1990s. When he brought that impersonation to television, Kimmel said: “We hired makeup artists to make it seem like the best thing to me. possible to Karl Malone. I never considered that this could be seen as more than an imitation of a human being, one that had nothing more to do with Karl’s skin color than with his bulging muscles and bald head. ”
Kimmel, who did not use the word “black face” in his statement, said that recalling his previous comedy sketches, many of them had become “shameful,” and it is frustrating that these thoughtless moments have become a weapon used by some to lessen my criticism of social and other injustices. “
He added in the statement: “I think I have evolved and matured in the last 20 years, and I hope it is evident to anyone who watches my show. I know this will not be the last time I hear about this and it will be used again to try to calm down. “
Kimmel made his comments after several weeks of sustained criticism on social media that he and other artists have faced for using blackface in their work.
On June 1, Jimmy Fallon, the host of “The Tonight Show” on NBC, apologized on his show for a sketch of 2000’s “Saturday Night Live” in which he had appeared on blackface to pose as Chris Rock.
Tina Fey, the creator of the NBC comedy “30 Rock,” said she and co-showrunner Robert Carlock had asked for several episodes of that show to be removed from broadcast services because they portray black-faced characters. Fey said in a statement: “As we strive to get the job done and improve when it comes to race in America, we believe these episodes with actors with race-changing makeup are better removed from circulation. Now I understand that ‘intention’ is not a free pass for white people to use these images. ”
Episodes from other comedy shows like “Little Britain” and “The Mighty Boosh” have also been removed from streaming services amid concerns about the black face.
Kimmel, who will host the Emmy Awards in September, announced last week that he would be taking a “Jimmy Kimmel Live” vacation and that guest hosts would replace him throughout the summer. He said in his statement on Tuesday that these holidays had been planned “for more than a year and include the next two summers as well,” adding that he would return to the program in September.