Late-night comedian Jimmy Fallon has now apologized for a 20-year-old SNL sketch that featured him doing a Chris Rock impression while in blackface.
On Monday, the hashtag #jimmyfallonisoverparty began trending on Twitter when the clip of his SNL sketch from 2000 went viral. On Tuesday, he addressed the social media outrage with an apology, saying he made a “terrible decision” while thanking everyone for holding him “accountable.”
“In 2000, while on SNL, I made a terrible decision to do an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface,” Fallon tweeted. “There is no excuse for this. I am very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive decision and thank all of you for holding me accountable.”
In 2000, while on SNL, I made a terrible decision to do an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface. There is no excuse for this.
I am very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive decision and thank all of you for holding me accountable.
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) May 26, 2020
Some people on Twitter did come to Fallon’s defense, saying that he should not be made to apologize for a 20-year-old comedic sketch.
“It’s sad that a comedian that has done nothing but give back to his community has to apologize for a skit that was written by someone else 20 years ago,” said one user.
“Mannnnnnnnnnn that was 20 years ago, ask Chris Rock what he thinks about it and that should be the level to guage the outrage, okay other white people?” said comedian Dave Weasel. “People should seek Fallon’s intent here. Was he meaning to be racist or was it a silly impression? There are real racial injustices RIGHT NOW to point the pitchforks at, that’s all I’m saying. Okay other white people?”
Other people were not so forgiving.
“I love how all the people in the comments letting Fallon know it’s okay are White. And I wasn’t a fan of Tropic Thunder either, the movie made me feel uncomfortable AF,” said one user.
“I’m gonna say this, it wasn’t cool. Even back then it wasn’t cool,” said another. “What is important is growth. Owning up to the mistakes, learning from them, and not just moving on but using it as a chance to teach others. We love you, but you’re right. There is no excuse.”
The debate over blackface became a national conversation in 2018 when Megyn Kelly wondered aloud on her now-canceled NBC show if there was ever an appropriate time to wear it.
“But what is racist? You truly do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface at Halloween or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween,” Kelly asked her panel. “That was OK when I was a kid, as long as you were dressing like a character.”
Jimmy Fallon is hardly the first comedian to do blackface; Billy Crystal, Fred Armisen, Jimmy Kimmel, and Robert Downey Jr. have all performed in blackface for one artistic reason or another.
On the flipside, whiteface has been performed by Eddie Murphy, Donald Glover, and the Wayans Brothers.
The Daily Wire, headed by bestselling author and popular podcast host Ben Shapiro, is a leading provider of conservative news, cutting through the mainstream media’s rhetoric to provide readers the most important, relevant, and engaging stories of the day. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.