Jimmy Kimmel issued a statement Tuesday, apologizing for his blackface impression of NBA player Karl Malone in the 1990s. Videos of the old sketches recently surfaced online.
"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," Kimmel said. "That delay was a mistake. There is nothing more important to me than your respects and I apologize to those who were genuinely hurt or offended by the makeup I wore or the words I spoke."
While Kimmel references "the words I spoke" in his apology, he never explicitly mentions the 1996 parody song "Christmastime in the LBC," which was unearthed by Fox News, and where he drops the N-word while imitating Snoop Dogg. Nor does he talk about his ill-advised joke in response to the 2009 story from his then-guest Megan Fox about Michael Bay sexualizing her when she was an extra on the set of Bad Boys II at the age of 15.
"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," Kimmel explained. "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."
Kimmel added, "Looking back, many of these sketches are embarrassing, and it is frustrating that these thoughtless moments have become a weapon used by some to diminish my criticisms of social and other injustices."
Despite assertions from Fox News that Kimmel's summer vacation was due to recent controversies, the late night host clarified that his break has been planned for more than a year.