On his show last Monday night, Jimmy Kimmel mocked Melania Trump's accent, and now some outraged viewers are trying to get him kicked off the air. A recently launched online petition calling for a boycott of Jimmy Kimmel Live! has reached more than 150,000 signatures so far. The group behind the petition plans on sending it to "the front door of Disney/ABC Studios."
"We may not get him kicked off the air," the petition states. "But we can send a message that these attacks on our First Lady will NOT be tolerated!"
The "attacks" they're referring to are jokes Kimmel made about Melania's Slovenian accent when she was reading a children's book to a group of kids during the White House Easter event. Kimmel played the clip of Melania and then made fun of the way the first lady pronounced certain words, including "this and that." He then turned to his sidekick, Mexican-American performer Guillermo Rodriguez, and said, "You realize what this means? You could be first lady of the United States."
His comments did not sit well with some viewers, and Fox News' Sean Hannity had a lot to say on his show of Kimmel's jokes. "This is brutal, liberal Jimmy Kimmel making fun of the first lady of the United States and her involvement in the White House Easter Egg Roll, even her accent," he said. "Jimmy, you're a despicable disgrace."
Kimmel responded to Hannity’s remarks on his show last week, including when he called him an “ass clown” for mocking Melania, who speaks five languages. "How many do you speak?" Hannity asked. "I speak six languages," Kimmel joked in his monologue. "I do not speak 'ass clown' though." He added, “What even is an ass clown?"
In what some considered to be homophobic attacks, Kimmel went on to mock the Fox News host for having "ass clown" on the brain. "Why is Sean Hannity openly fantasizing about clowns in the ass?" Kimmel asked. "Is that your thing at night when you have your pants down? At 2 a.m., you’ve got your laptop open to Breitbart, you sneak down to your den to hump a pillow from the Ivanka Trump collection, quietly so your wife doesn’t wake up and force you to go to church?"
Kimmel went on to say that Hannity's "problem" was that he'd been unable to get an erection during the eight years Obama was in office, even when looking at "pictures of Paul Ryan with his shirt off." But now that Trump is president, he said, Hannity is "unable to have anything but an erection."
He added that it didn't make sense that he was the "despicable disgrace," when Hannity supported alleged pedophile Roy Moore. "If I'm an ass clown," Kimmel said, "you, Sean, are the whole ass circus." He also suggested Hannity focus less on his jokes, and more on things that are actually disrespectful to the first lady, like the president's alleged affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels.
Following the late night host's scathing monologue, Hannity called Kimmel a “sick, twisted, creepy, perverted weirdo” during his show on Friday. He declared "game on," and proceeded to play clips of Kimmel from his days on The Man Show, including the TV personality with a fake erection, asking women to find something in his pants, and Kimmel wearing blackface, imitating former NBA star Karl Malone. Hannity added that he didn't want Kimmel's show to be boycotted or taken off the air, but he thought Kimmel should apologize to the first lady.
On Monday, Kimmel issued an apology via Twitter. "While I admit I did have fun with our back and forth, after some thought, I realize that the level of vitriol from all sides (mine and me included) does nothing good for anyone and, in fact, is harmful to our country," he wrote, adding that him and his family, including his wife and infant son, have received death threats.
"I encourage those who made them to give their words and actions thought," Kimmel wrote. "I, too, will give my words more thought and recognize my role in inciting their hatefulness."
He went on to apologize for any remarks that offended the LGBTQ community. "I most certainly did not intend to belittle or upset members of the gay community," he wrote, "and to those who took offense, I apologize."
Kimmel concluded by saying he hoped Hannity "will learn from this too and continue his newly found advocacy for women, immigrants and First Ladies and that he will triumph in his heroic battle against sexual harassment and perversion."