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White House Responds to Petition Over JIMMY KIMMEL China Skit: 'Federal Government Cannot Force ABC to Remove This Show'
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Deadline reported yesterday that President Obama's administration has finally released a statement regarding a petition signed by more than 105,000 individuals requesting the White House cancel ABC's JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE. The petition concerned an October segment in which a child joked about killing Chinese people to help erase the current U.S. debt.
The White House's statement reads:
"Thank you for your petition. Your petition requested an apology from those involved, and to 'cut the show.'
"The parties involved have already apologized independently. Jimmy Kimmel has apologized on-air, and issued a written apology. ABC has removed the skit from future broadcasts, taken the clip down from online platforms, and detailed several changes in its programming review process in response to this incident. ...
"On a broader level, as the President has stated publicly, the United States welcomes the continuing peaceful rise of China. The comments you are writing about do not reflect mainstream views of China in the United States.
"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.
"If you think this issue merits additional scrutiny, you may file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission by visiting FCC.gov/Complaints. The FCC is an independent agency that regulates the airwaves without input or consideration from the White House."
Kimmel's clip, which aired on October 16, 2013, was considered to be offensive to a group called 80-20 that identifies itself as "a pan-Asian-American political organization."
Meant to be a comedy bit, the video featured children commenting on news events of the day. In a letter to the group dated Oct. 25, ABC said it would never intentionally do anything to offend the Chinese, Asian or other communities. The skit has been edited out of any future airings of the episode, online content included.
Jimmy Kimmel serves as host and executive producer of Jimmy Kimmel Live, ABC Television Network's late-night talk show. JKL is packed with hilarious comedy bits and features a diverse lineup of guests including celebrities, athletes, musicians, comedians and humorous human interest subjects.