On Sunday, late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel issued what appeared to be a forced apology for jokes he made late last week mocking First Lady Melania Trump’s accent and implying that Sean Hannity and the President were gay lovers.
The comedian posted the wordy missive to Twitter just after noon, claiming to have found his own vitriol distressing and apologizing for his “jokes.”
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) April 8, 2018
Kimmel’s trouble started when he made fun of Melania’s accent, leading to a lengthy back and forth with talk show host Hannity — an exchange that ended when Kimmel claimed Hannity and Trump were a “bottom” and “top,” suggesting the pair’s relationship involved metaphorical gay sex.
At that point, conservatives weren’t the only ones scandalized. Members of the LGBT community called Kimmel out for using their lifestyle as a format for his jokes, pointing out that Kimmel’s style was lazy and anachronistic. It was those critics who probably jolted Kimmel’s employers — the Disney company — into action. There’s no need to worry about Kimmel losing a right-leaning audience, but angry members of the Resistance are all he has, and he can’t afford to eat away at his own target demographic.
But while Kimmel’s apology began as an attempt to be sincere, calling on both sides to tone down the angry rhetoric, promising to give his words “more thought,” apologizing to the LGBT community and even to Sean Hannity, the wrap-up line makes it clear Kimmel wasn’t interested in taking back his angry volley.
“I am hopeful Sean Hannity will learn from this too and continue his newly-found [sic] advocacy for women, immigrants and First Ladies and that he will triumph in his heroic battle against sexual harassment and perversion,” Kimmel wrote.
The final statement begs a question: exactly why does anyone bother with these disingenuous apologies any longer? If Kimmel wants to be a pernicious, unfunny, political commentator whose jokes were outdated a decade ago, let him be exactly that. Clearly, it appeals to someone, or he’d have been booted from the network long ago. He knows he didn’t make a mistake; we know he didn’t make a mistake. None of us will argue that he’s not being authentic. So why engage in the charade at all?
Perhaps he’s not as secure as he projects.