Late night TV host Jimmy Kimmel has apologized after video of the comedian was unearthed of Kimmel using the n-word while impersonating rapper Snoop Dogg.
This sparked outrage, as photos of Kimmel emerged of him doing blackface on several occasions.
“I have long been reluctant to address this," Kimmel wrote in a statement to Fox News, who broke the story. "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.”
The often-sanctimonious Kimmel wore blackface while impersonating NBA hall-of-famer Karl Malone, as well as impressions of Snoop Dogg and Oprah Winfrey.
“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,” said Kimmel in the statement.
“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,” he continued.
“I know that this will not be the last I hear of this and that it will be used again to try to quiet me. I love this country too much to allow that,” said Kimmel. “I won’t be bullied into silence by those who feign outrage to advance their oppressive and genuinely racist agendas.
"Thank you for giving me an opportunity to explain and to those I’ve disappointed, I am sorry," he added.
Kimmel is the latest in a series of late night hosts who have been "cancelled," with Jimmy Fallon also having received the treatment after photos of him emerged impersonating Chris Rock.
Fallon's apology covered many bases, saying that he respected Rock "more than I respect most humans."
"How do I say, ‘I love this person, I respect this guy more than I respect most humans, I am not a racist, I don’t feel this way’? And instead, what I kept getting advised was to just stay quiet and not say anything. And that’s the advice because we’re all afraid. I took it for a minute, I took the advice," Fallon wrote in an apology.