Jimmy Kimmel is speaking out after blackface sketches featuring the late-night host resurfaced online.
On Tuesday morning, the Jimmy Kimmel Live host released a statement and expressed regret for his actions.
“I have long been reluctant to address this, as I knew doing so would be celebrated as a victory by those who equate apologizes with weakness and cheer for leaders who use prejudice to divide us. That delay was a mistake,” he shared in a statement to E! News. “There is nothing more important to me than your respect, and I apologize for those who were genuinely hurt or offended by the makeup I wore or the words I spoke.”
Jimmy continued, “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. I never considered that this might be seen as anything other than an imitation of a fellow human being, one that had no more to do with Karl’s skin color than it did his bulging muscles and bald head. I’ve done dozens of impressions of famous people, including Snoop Dogg, Oprah, Eminem, Dick Vitale, Rosie and many others. In each case, I thought of them as impersonations of celebrities and nothing more. Looking back, many of these sketches are embarrassing, and it is frustrating that these thoughtfulness moments have become a weapon used by some to diminish my criticism of social and other injustices.”