Why People Are Furious at Jimmy Kimmel for "Rude" & "Disrespectful" Emmys Joke
Kimmel is facing backlash after presenting the award for comedy writing at this year's show.
During Monday night's Emmy Awards, fans of Abbott Elementary were thrilled to see the comedy win in two categories: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Sheryl Lee Ralph and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for the creator and star of the show, Quinta Brunson. But, it was during Brunson's acceptance speech that the big controversy of the night occurred, and it involved presenter Jimmy Kimmel.
Read on to find out what Kimmel did during Brunson's speech that upset viewers so much and to hear how Brunson responded to the ill-conceived joke.
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The award was presented by Kimmel and Will Arnett.
Kimmel and actor Will Arnett were chosen to announce the award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. But, it was really Arnett who did all of the work. After dragging Kimmel's body out onto the stage, he joked that his co-presenter "got into the skinny margaritas back there" after losing to John Oliver in the category of Outstanding Variety Talk Series for the seventh year in a row.
Kimmel remained on the stage.
After Brunson's name was called, she took to the stage to accept the statuette for her work on Abbott Elementary. Kimmel did not move, however, keeping to the bit and lying on stage right next to the writer/actor.
Brunson took this in stride, stepping around Kimmel and saying, "Jimmy, wake up, I won. Jimmy?" She added, "Okay, hold my phone," and placed it on top of him. Kimmel gave her a thumbs up in response.
Viewers were offended by Kimmel's actions.
Kimmel's decision to extend his bit with Arnett into Brunson's acceptance speech was viewed unfavorably by many watching from home, with audience members calling it "extremely irritating," "selfish," and "highly disrespectful." Others called it a display of privilege, since Kimmel felt comfortable continuing his joke during a Black woman's moment. Brunson is only the second Black woman to ever win in the Writing for a Comedy Series category.
"White male privilege is laying on the ground & expecting a Black woman to just step around you while she accepts her hard-earned award. [Expletive] Jimmy Kimmel," wrote one Twitter user. Another tweeted, "The choice to make Quinta Brunson step over Jimmy Kimmel to get to the mic and then play her off early was atrocious." Someone else wrote, "If #QuintaBrunson stepping over #JimmyKimmel who literally laid in her spotlight on the day she won an Emmy isn't a metaphor for what it means to be a WOC in a white mans world I don't know what is."
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Brunson responded to the controversial moment.
After winning her award, Brunson answered questions in the Emmys press room. One journalist asked how she felt about Kimmel's joke, as the backlash was already unfolding on Twitter. As reported by Variety, the Abbot Elementary creator explained that she didn't have an issue with it, because she knows the talk show host, but she recognized that viewers might not feel the same way.
"I know Jimmy Kimmel, and I don't know, I felt like the bit didn't bother me that much. I don't know what the internet thinks," Brunson said.
The 32-year-old star continued, "Jimmy gave me my first big late-night spot and was one of the first people to see Abbott. He Instagram messaged me that he saw this comedy and thought it was one of the greatest comedies of all time and he was so excited it was going to be on ABC. So I think in that moment I was just really happy that it was Jimmy up there. I kind of consider him one of the comedy godfathers. I'm a huge fan of Will Arnett. So, I was wrapped up in the moment. Tomorrow maybe I'll be mad at him. I'm going to be on his show on Wednesday, so I might punch him in the face. I don't know. We'll see what happens."
Kimmel himself has yet to comment on the criticism he's facing.