Ted Johnson reports: The White House on Friday responded to a petition calling for an apology afterABC’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.
Our culture is surreally obsessed with taking offense
A few weeks ago, the host of ABC’s late-night show Jimmy Kimmel Live aired a bit where a six-year-old boy recommends killing everyone in China. Kimmel and the network have been apologizing ever since. Over the weekend, protesters besieged ABC studios around the country. They want Kimmel fired or, failing that, more apologies.
The bit was part of a routine called “Kids Table,” where Kimmel talks to cute five- and six-year-olds, and hilarity ensues. In the offending episode, Kimmel asked the kids what to do about our debt to China, and one boy chirps, “Kill everyone in China.” Kimmel laughs and jokingly calls it “an interesting idea,” before returning to it later when, with mock seriousness, he asks the kids whether the Chinese should be allowed to live.
It’s one thing for late-night comics to make jokes about the White House. But Jimmy Kimmel managed to offend so many people with a joke about China that the Obama administration is now officially compelled to respond.
On Oct. 16, Kimmel aired a segment of his Kids Table, where he asks small children to address complex issues. The subject was China and how the U.S. could solve the $1.3 trillion trade imbalance. “Kill everyone in China,” answered one laughing 6-year-old.
Some viewers were so upset that they took their anger to the White House’s “We the People” online initiative, where citizens petition the administration to comment on various issues — and are promised a response if at least 100,000 people sign on during a 30-day period.