Here's Why Some People Want Jimmy Kimmel's Show to Be Canceled
#CancelKimmel is trending on Twitter after some controversial clips resurfaced.
You may have noticed the hashtag #CancelKimmel is trending on Twitter, driven by users who are calling for the end of Jimmy Kimmel's late-night talk show, Jimmy Kimmel Live! But why are people angry with the host? Well, a few clips started recirculating over the past several days that have raised some eyebrows, leading Kimmel to issue a statement on Tuesday.
One of the issues at hand is racially offensive comedy sketches from Kimmel's past. He was mainly known as the co-host of The Man Show on Comedy Central prior to his move to network late-night. In portraying Black celebrities on The Man Show, including professional basketball player Karl Malone and a parody of Oprah Winfrey, he donned blackface. As Newsweek notes, the Malone sketch included Kimmel speaking in a mocking version of African American Vernacular English (AAVE), which is recognized by sociolinguists as a variety of the English language.
The outlet also reports that Kimmel imitated the voice of rapper Snoop Dogg in a comedy Christmas album put together by the Los Angeles radio station KROQ in 1996. The song included multiple uses of the N-word and promoted several Black stereotypes. The host also recounted on a 2013 podcast that he once made a prank call to the head of Comedy Central pretending to be Black comedian George Wallace.
On June 23, Kimmel released a statement, responding specifically to his blackface performances. The host apologized to anyone who was "genuinely hurt or offended by the makeup I wore or the words I spoke," but stated that he "won't be bullied into silence by those who feign outrage to advance their oppressive and genuinely racist agendas."
Kimmel has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump and his administration, and that latter statement seemingly refers to Donald Trump, Jr., Fox News, and other conservative individuals weighing in on the clips and calling for his cancellation.
But another one of the Jimmy Kimmel Live! videos in question—which he did not address in his statement—is an interview with Transformers star Megan Fox from 2009 posted on Twitter as part of the ongoing conversation about the way the actress has been treated by Hollywood and the public. Her work in the Transformers franchise, directed by Michael Bay, led to a feud with the director shortly after the Kimmel appearance in June 2009.
Later in the year, after she called him "a nightmare to work with" and comparing him to Hitler (a remark Fox has since apologized for), Bay fired Fox and responded with insults of his own about her work ethic. She has claimed that Bay's direction of her amounted to demanding that she "be hot" and that, as part of her audition for Transformers, Bay reportedly filmed her while she worked on his car.
In the Kimmel interview, Fox talked about her cameo at 15 years old in Bay's Bad Boys II, which predates the first Transformers by four years. When Bay was told that Fox was only 15 and therefore couldn't sit at a bar in a scene, she claims that Bay decided to have her dance in a bikini under a waterfall instead.
In the clip below, the studio audience and Kimmel both laugh at the story. "I was in 10th grade. So that's sort of a microcosm of how Bay's mind works," Fox says. "Yeah, well, that's really a microcosm of how all our minds work," Kimmel jokes back. "But some of us have the decency to repress those thoughts and pretend that they don't exist."
In a statement posted to Instagram on June 22, Fox responded to the reignited discussion about her experience with Bay, clarifying that she was never "assaulted or preyed upon in what I felt was a sexual manner" by the director, but that she has "endured some genuinely harrowing experiences in a ruthlessly misogynistic industry." She did not address her 2009 interview with Kimmel directly.
While Kimmel has been on a summer break from Jimmy Kimmel Live!, he plans to return in September and is also scheduled to be executive producing and hosting the 2020 Emmys broadcast that month. And for more current Hollywood controversies, read up on 6 Celebrities Who Were Fired After Being Accused of Racism.