Kimmel flak won't go away

Updated: 2013-11-01 02:38

By Chen Jia in San Francisco (China Daily USA)

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Faced with rising public anger over an "apology not sincere enough", ABC television host Jimmy Kimmel on Wednesday apologized again in Los Angeles before a group of Chinese protesters, promising to cut the Kid's Table skit from his show.

"I do want to apologize to all of you if I upset you," he said. "We should not have put that on the air."

The October 16 broadcast of ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" aired a clip of an American boy suggesting that "killing everyone in China" could be a good way to solve the problem of America's debt. "Kill everyone in China?" Kimmel responded to the child's remark. "OK, that's an interesting idea."

"I feel bad that you didn't take it as a joke," he told the protesters on Wednesday. "I don't know what you go through personally, but I am sure there are many challenges. I'm really sorry I bothered you or upset any of you."

In response to earlier protests from Chinese groups, Kimmel had made an apology on his Monday show. But it only triggered more criticism.

"You know, today is a weird day. There seems to be a lot of people upset with me, more upset than usual," he said on Monday's broadcast.

"I thought it was obvious that I didn't agree with that statement, but apparently it wasn't. So I just want to say I am sorry. I apologize. It was certainly not my intent to upset anyone. I'm here to turn frowns upside down."

The AAPA (Asian Americans for Political Advancement), among others, regarded the apology as "not sincere enough", Taylor Chow, a spokesperson of AAPA said on Tuesday.

"It was not directed toward the Chinese, rather in a general way," he said.

Late Thursday, Chow issued the following statement: "The AAPA regards Jimmy Kimmel's apology in person to the protesters as another positive step. However, ABC should apologize to all Chinese through its nationally aired program. ABC should also commit that hatred statements cannot be joked about and promise it will not happen again. AAPA as many other protests against ABC around the US have demonstrated to the US media, politicians and the whole society that Chinese Americans will not tolerate any hatred statements. We, Chinese Americans, have learned and united from this. We will fight for our dignity till the end."

Joe Wong, a well known Chinese American talk show host, said Wednesday on Sina Weibo that people should not stop protesting just because ABC cut Kid's Table from the show.

"Once we stop our voices, people will misconstrue the protest as us just wanting to punish the kid, which is not true," he said. "It's meaningless to cut the live show."

He reposted a petition circulating on the White House website again on Thursday morning and called for more people to sign it.

"The kids might not know anything better. However, Jimmy Kimmel and ABC's management are adults. They had a choice not to air this racist program, which promotes racial hatred," the petition said.

More than 77,000 people have signed the petition and urged the Obama administration to look into investigating the broadcast.

ABC had published an apology last Friday in response to a complaint from a group called 80-20 Initiative, a self-described pan-Asian-American advocacy organization.