White House Responds to Jimmy Kimmel’s China Controversy

Jimmy Kimmel
Chris Buck

Petition prompts declaration of ABC show's right to free speech

The White House on Friday responded to a petition calling for an apology after ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” featured a joke in October about killing Chinese people to avoid paying down U.S. debt.

The Obama administration responded to the petition after it received more than 105,000 signatures on the We the People site maintained by the White House.

The White House noted that ABC and Kimmel apologized for the joke, featured in a segment in which Kimmel is querying children about how the U.S. should payback China. The segment provoked protests among Chinese American activists.

“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.”

Nevertheless, the administration said that free speech protects the show, and the federal government “cannot force ABC to remove this show.”

A portion of the White House response is below:

“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.”

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  1. Chichacho Jones says:

    Seems like Kimmel is always in the news over some controversy. I wish he’d start some that is worthwhile, though.

    Hell, since people are obviously hanging on his every word/action, it would be cool if he used that power to wake some people up.

  2. George says:

    Nick – a similar problem for Kimmel is about to break with Uganda. Please do not post this. You can contact me if you like at gbrown@alum.mit.edu. I am friends with the president of the Ugandan Anti-Defamation League. It involves an interview with Katy Perry. – George Brown

  3. Nick says:

    America owned and pandering to a Communist country that is not in the habit of ever apologising for atrocities that it commits (i.e. oppressing it’s people, the genocide of Tibet and being the #1 supporter of North Korea).

  4. Bill says:

    If the Federal Reserve weren’t trying to inflate their way out of paying the Chinese what we owe them, it wouldn’t be such a credible idea that we’d kill them instead.

  5. blinded1 says:

    What a piece of sh**! What ABC’s airing improper comments by a kit has to do with China’s rise? I don’t know if such comments reflect the view of mainstream in US but quite obviously are the kind that US government like to hear from public, even it denies. Isn’t it clear enough that US government has been fanning public sentiment against China (not just the government and ruling party) for long time?

  6. micheljoy says:

    I appreciate peaceful diplomacy. This is a powerful demonstration to the government of China, of democracy at work. And, it is a reminder to those in the media of how powerful their words are.

  7. Mary Beth says:

    Jimmy Kimmel has apologized in every way possible. I believe we have all had our moments when we wish we hadn’t said something! Please let’s move on.

  8. Keith White says:

    This is totally undeserving of media attention.

  9. GKN says:

    As I recall (and cannot verify, since they took it down), it was a child who, naively, made the offensive remark in the first place, then Jimmy just helped spin it into a joke. He’s a humorist, and humorless people should watch other shows, without any if they don’t get it. They also should refrain from carrying on over things they haven’t seen, and therefore cannot judge – which no doubt, is also a factor here, as always. I applaud the President for his very sensible reply. And wonder – did the Duck Dynasty people do as much as ABC?

  10. bustian says:

    China should apologize for oppressive treatment of its own people (not allowed to procreate etc etc) and the oppression of Tibetans..

    • NoPCforMe says:

      36 cents per hour to make samsung and apple products..and some suicide too. The fact that Obama even acknowlegde this is retarded.
      The White House should be fixing the ACA,not focusing on this silliness.

      • stephanie says:

        It’s the process. A petition is filed on We the People site and he responds. It’s democracy.

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