Jimmy Kimmel is facing calls for his “cancellation,” after media emerged of the TV host admitting to using the n-word.
Kimmel had already attracted criticism this week for a skit in which he appeared in blackface. Now, the news of Kimmel using the n-word makes the host’s situation even worse. As does the resurfacing of an inappropriate 2009 interview with a then-15-year-old Megan Fox.
In the context of the Black Lives Matter movement, calls are now mounting online for Disney to fire Kimmel as the host of Jimmy Kimmel Live!
This may arguably be an overreaction stoked up by Kimmel’s critics on the right. But when networks have fired people for less, it’s hard to see how Kimmel can keep his job.
Last week, footage reappeared of Jimmy Kimmel appearing in blackface on The Man Show, which ran from 1999 to 2004. In response, Kimmel announced a few days ago that he would be taking the summer off, although he didn’t directly mention the blackface controversy.
However, things have only worsened for Kimmel since his withdrawal from the public eye. Yesterday, an exclusive report from Fox News indicated that Kimmel had used the n-word repeatedly in a parody of the rapper Snoop Dogg recorded in 1996.
Even worse, a 2009 interview Kimmel recorded with Megan Fox also resurfaced around the same time. In it, Kimmel all-but admitted to having indecent thoughts about Fox, who was 15 at the time.
Unsurprisingly, people have responded harshly to Kimmel’s past actions. Within minutes of the latest reports appearing, the #CancelKimmel hashtag began trending on Twitter.
A number of Twitter users have also taken pleasure in Jimmy Kimmel’s apparent hypocrisy. For example, Kimmel had urged actor Tom Arnold in 2018 to release tapes of Donald Trump allegedly using the n-word.
On the other hand, some people think the push to cancel Jimmy Kimmel on the basis of three old clips is a bit much.
Then again, networks have canceled or fired other people for past indiscretions as serious as Kimmel’s.
In 2018, Kevin Hart stepped down from hosting the 2019 Oscars after old homophobic tweets of his were dug up. Also in 2018, Disney fired Guardians of the Galaxy writer/director James Gunn, all because of tweets written between 2009 and 2012 that made light of rape and pedophilia.
This last firing is particularly significant for Jimmy Kimmel, given that his show appears on Disney-ABC. Likewise, his misdemeanors reappeared against the backdrop of Black Lives Matter, just as Gunn’s tweets reappeared amid the #MeToo movement.
So, given that Disney has already fired someone for past actions that became more offensive in light of new social attitudes, it’s hard to see how it can resist the calls to fire Kimmel.
Yet it in some ways, this may arguably be unjust. Why? Well, because there’s a clear political motivation behind the pressure against Kimmel.
In contrast to the widespread perception of “cancel culture” as a left-wing phenomenon, it’s clear in this case that the right is largely driving it.
It’s right-wing figures and tabloids that are mainly gunning for Kimmel, who has consistently criticized Donald Trump. The New York Post and Fox News have both run op-eds calling for Kimmel’s head, for instance. And in this case, it seems they may get it.
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