Jimmy Kimmel isn’t in danger of being forced off the air, the White House said this week.
Kimmel stirred up some controversy last year when a group of children in a roundtable discussion suggested that the United States kill all the Chinese so America’s debt could be wiped out.
In response an outraged viewer started a White House petition asking that President Obama take Jimmy Kimmel off the air.
The petition read:
“The kids might not know anything better. However, Jimmy Kimmel and ABC’s management are adults. They had a choice not to air this racist program, which promotes racial hatred. The program is totally unacceptable and it must be cut. A sincere apology must be issued. It is extremely distasteful and this is the same rhetoric used in Nazi Germany against Jewish people. Please immediately cut the show and issue a formal apology.”
The Jimmy Kimmel petition garnered a lot of attention from Chinese-American rights groups, and in the end had more than 105,000 signatures, prompting an automatic response from the White House.
In its response, the White House noted that Jimmy Kimmel already apologized on-air and also issued a written apology. ABC also removed the skit from future broadcasts and took the clip down from online platforms.
The response also noted that Jimmy Kimmel has a First Amendment right to the segment.
“The Federal government cannot force ABC to remove this show. The First Amendment of the Constitution protects free speech, even if individuals might personally find it offensive or distasteful. It may be upsetting when people say things we might personally disagree with, but the principle of protected free speech is an important part of who we are as a nation.”
Jimmy Kimmel is still getting himself into hot water on the air. On Friday he aired a segment in which he read comments from the internet about celebrities. One of the comments struck a nerve with Sofia Vergara, who gave Kimmel a slap across the face.