KEY POINTS

  • Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel has apologized for imitating NBA player Karl Malone by wearing blackface on numerous occasions 
  • Kimmel said he is sorry to those who have been “genuinely hurt or offended” by his actions
  • Kimmel’s apology comes a month after Jimmy Fallon said sorry for wearing blackface 20 years ago on "Saturday Night Live"

Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel has apologized for wearing blackface on numerous occasions during his professional career. Kimmel has issued an apology for doing an impression of NBA player Karl Malone in the mid- and late 1990s on radio and television.

In a statement obtained by the Hollywood Reporter, the 52-year-old TV personality shared that he is sorry to those who have been “genuinely hurt or offended” by his actions. Kimmel further stated that he committed a serious mistake by not apologizing earlier because he thought saying sorry would be a “victory” for those who equate apologies with weakness.  

Kimmel also noted that there is nothing “more important” to him than earning the respect of his viewers.

“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. 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,” Kimmel said.

Some of the impressions made by Kimmel were featured on Los Angeles’ KROQ radio. He wore blackface and imitated Malone once again on a show called “The Man Show,” a Comedy Central series that ran for six seasons between 1999 and 2004.

“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,” Kimmel said.

Kimmel’s apology comes almost a month after Jimmy Fallon apologized for wearing blackface 20 years ago on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” The sketch featuring Fallon in blackface resurfaced online and drew a lot of criticisms from the netizens. Thousands of people shared the clips and called out Fallon over his impersonation.

After learning about the issue, Fallon posted an apology on his official Twitter account and also explained that it was a “terrible” decision to imitate Chris Rock while in blackface. He felt “sorry” for his actions and expressed gratitude toward the social media users for holding him accountable for such an “offensive” decision.

Here are some reactions from Twitter users: