Jimmy Kimmel apologizes for dressing in blackface and using racial slurs on the radio and on television.
Jimmy Kimmel is facing some major controversy after old clips have resurfaced of him using the n-word in a rap parody and wearing blackface on more than one occasion. One of the most notorious moments of such behavior came when he dressed up like Karl Malone for a skit, painting his face with dark make-up.
The late-night host has officially issued a statement on the controversy, apologizing for his actions and claiming to have matured from it.
"I have long been reluctant to address this, as I knew doing so would be celebrated as a victory by those who equate apologies with weakness and cheer for leaders who use prejudice to divide us. That delay was a mistake," said Kimmel according to Variety. "There is nothing more important to me than your respect, and I apologize to those who were genuinely hurt or offended by the makeup I wore or the words I spoke."
He went on to note direct instances that have been picked apart for his questionable decisions.
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"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," he said. "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 thoughtless moments have become a weapon used by some to diminish my criticisms of social and other injustices."
Kimmel is aware that this will continue to haunt him for years to come, but he claims that he has learned from his mistakes.
"I have evolved and matured over the last twenty-plus years, and I hope that is evident to anyone who watches my show," he added. "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. 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."