Jimmy Kimmel ‘China’ Joke Draws Apology From ABC

Jimmy Kimmel’s “China” joke on Jimmy Kimmel Live has given ABC something to apologize for. It wasn’t something Jimmy Kimmel introduced, though, because the show was unscripted.

The offensive joke came from a segment on his show called “Kids Table,” where the TV show host asks kids about the issues affecting the world today. Jimmy Kimmel asked the children how we should fix the national debt after owing China $1.3 trillion, and as usual the kids offered their first thoughts.

As anyone who is familiar with the work of TV celebrity Art Linkletter, whose successor was Bill Cosby, the famous show was called Kids Say the Darndest Things. There is a point to that, as children don’t always say what you expect them to, and sometimes it comes out absolutely offensive to the point to insulting an entire nation.

The fault for Jimmy Kimmel‘s “China” joke doesn’t rest with the kids, though. They were only saying what came to mind, especially the one who suggested we “kill everyone in China” as a way to solve our debt. Kids usually don’t think these things through, and the station knows this. As a result, ABC has issued an official apology for the offensive joke.

After all, ABC still aired the joke intact, and Jimmy Kimmel ran with it after he heard it himself. Some might suggest that Jimmy Kimmel himself offer an additional apology for not telling the boy he couldn’t say things like that on TV.

The purpose of the segment “Kids Table”, above, was to poke fun at how childish politicians can be, but Jimmy Kimmel’s “China” joke went a little too far. A group called 80-20, a pan-Asian-American political organization, complained about the joke being aired on Jimmy Kimmel Live. ABC replied October 25 with a letter stating it would never intentionally insult or hurt the Chinese or Asian communities, or any communities for that matter. The letter of apology included the statement that the segment in question will be taken out of further airings of the Jimmy Kimmel Live episode, as well as all distributions thereof, including their website.

There is no reason Jimmy Kimmel should have taken such a hurtful statement and continued it for the sake of comedy or even political satire.

Was ABC’s apology for Jimmy Kimmel’s “China” joke enough, or should the host of the show offer his own apology as well? Kids may say the darndest things, but adults should know better.