Jimmy Kimmel Apologizes for Infamous Karl Malone Impression Using Blackface

Jimmy Kimmel issued an apology for a skit he did about 20 years ago. The act in question saw him use blackface for an impression of former NBA superstar, Karl Malone, a sketch that has resurfaced amid the unrest across the country.

In a statement obtained by CNN, Kimmel said the routine was a part of one of his first gigs working at KROQ radio in the mid-1990s. The success of it eventually saw him keep the gag running as he moved over to television. He admitted he never foresaw this coming to this point, saying it was an “imitation of a fellow human,” adding that he did similar ones portraying Oprah and Snoop Dogg. He says now he sees how they were wrong and called them “embarrassing.” Kimmel said, “It’s frustrating that these thoughtless moments have become a weapon used by some to diminish my criticisms of social and other injustices.”

In his lengthy statement, the longtime late-night talk show host noted that he has “evolved and matured” but realizes his past won’t just disappear. He said he expects this will again be used to “quiet me.” He wrapped up his message by saying that he “won’t be bullied into silence by those who feign outrage to advance their oppressive and genuinely racist agendas.” In regards to what took so long for an apology, Kimmel said it was a “mistake” waiting that long and apologized to those who were hurt by the skits.

Last week, Kimmel announced he would be taking a break from hosting Jimmy Kimmel Live! As he plans to spend more time with family. The ABC personality said that new episodes wouldn’t come until after the summer. After re-runs air for two weeks, Kimmel noted a slew of guests would contribute in filling in for him while he gets what he calls a much-needed break after nearly 18 years.

Kimmel was also recently announced to be the host of the 72nd Emmy Awards, which remain on schedule to air on Sept. 20 on ABC. Production is said to be preparing for both a traditional broadcast and a virtual presentation.