Back in November, a petition calling for the cancellation of Jimmy Kimmel Live reached 100,000 signatures, requiring the Obama administration to comment on an October “Kids’ Table” segment in which Kimmel asks a group of children to comment on the $1.3 trillion debt to China and one of the kids responds with the suggestion “Kill everyone in China!” In a response titled “What We Have to Say About Jimmy Kimmel” posted late last week, the White House had this to say on the controversy:
The parties involved have already apologized independently. Jimmy Kimmel has apologized on-air, and issued a written apology. ABC has removed the skit from future broadcasts, taken the clip down from online platforms, and detailed several changes in its programming review process in response to this incident. You can find more about Jimmy Kimmel’s apology here, and ABC’s apology here.On a broader level, as the President has stated publicly, the United States welcomes the continuing peaceful rise of China. The comments you are writing about do not reflect mainstream views of China in the United States.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.
This isn’t the first time Kimmel has angered viewers through having kids on his show. In late September he found himself in a bizarre Twitter fight with Kanye West, who took offense to a segment in which Kimmel had a child spoof one of West’s recent interviews. While the pair eventually made up when Kanye appeared on the show, if there’s one thing we should glean from all this, it’s that children are incredibly offensive people.