Almost three months after the airing of the Jimmy Kimmel skit in which one mop-haired six-year-old boy suggested that the US should ‘kill everyone in China‘ to handle its debt to the country, the White House has weighed in on the controversy that led to a petition, protests, Hitler comparisons and involvement from China’s Foreign Ministry.
The skit, first aired in October, resulted in a White House petition that gained over 100,000 signatures and likened the child’s remark to “rhetoric in Nazi Germany against Jewish people“. Although Kimmel and ABC network apologized for the sketch, protestors still demanded that Kimmel be fired and that his show be canceled.
When CCTV continued to press him on the issue, Kimmel told reporters that “In America we have the freedom of press,” but if people wanted to sue him then “that’s their choice”.
The White House has now addressed the matter and pointed out that both the program and Jimmy Kimmel “already apologized independently”, adding that the young boy’s comments “do not reflect mainstream views of China in the United States.”
“As the president has stated publicly, the United States welcomes the continuing peaceful rise of China,” the White House statement read, also noting that the US Constitution protects the freedom of speech and that the government can’t force ABC to cancel the show “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,” the White House said.
And so ends Kimmel-gate.