Some Chinese and Chinese American folks were absolutely incensed over last year's Jimmy Kimmel Live skit that saw a young boy say, off-the-cuff, “kill everyone in China.”
The comment was in response to a “Kids Table” question about how the United States should deal with $1.3 trillion owed to Chinese investors. It didn't appear to be scripted, but some asked for Kimmel's head anyway.
Protesters started a movement to unseat Kimmel, they protested outside the Hollywood Boulevard theater where the show is taped, and they even asked the White House to take him off the air. The Obama Administration responded recently with a very pro-American message:
The Federal government cannot force ABC to remove this show. The First Amendment of the Constitution protects free speech, 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 statement was a response to a whitehouse.gov petition to “investigate Jimmy Kimmel” and “shut down” the show.
The petition received more than 105,000 endorsements. The threshold for a White House response is 100,000 signatures.
According to the author of the petition:
The program is totally unacceptable and it must be cut. A sincere apology must be issued. It is extremely distasteful and this is the same rhetoric used in Nazi Germany against Jewish people. Please immediately cut the show and issue a formal apology.
The White House's response noted that both Kimmel and ABC have issued apologies and that the skit has been taken down from the network's websites.
“The comments you are writing about,” the White House adds, “do not reflect mainstream views of China in the United States.”
The protest doesn't reflect the feelings of all Asians in the Sinosphere, either. As we noted previously, some Tawainese folks – often at odds with China – had no problem whatsoever with the skit.