Kimmel has yet to address his use of the N-word several times on a 1996 Christmas album, in which he imitates rapper Snoop Dogg, and was unearthed in a report by Fox News.
In the apology, Kimmel said he’s been “long been reluctant to address this, as I knew doing so would be celebrated as a victory by those who equate apologies with weakness and cheer for leaders who use prejudice to divide us,” before adding, “I apologize to those who were genuinely hurt or offended by the makeup I wore or the words I spoke.”
The comedian also said he would take the next two months off and return to work in September.
ABC, which hosts Jimmy Kimmel Live!, has yet to address the story, though last week the network announced Kimmel as the host of its September Emmy Awards.
Conservatives are criticizing liberals for not being critical of Kimmel: “You know why he’ll keep his job? Because he’s a Democrat,” tweeted Republican Connecticut state senate candidate JT Lewis.
“People aren’t ‘feigning outrage,’ you disingenuous fraud @jimmykimmel,” tweeted Donald Trump Jr. on Tuesday afternoon. “We’re pointing out the utter hypocrisy of you & your lib friends always trying to cancel YOUR political enemies, but refusing to hold yourselves to the same woke standards.”
“I never considered that this might be seen as anything other than an imitation of a fellow human being, one that had no more to do with [Malone’s] skin color than it did his bulging muscles and bald head,” said Kimmel in the statement.
Kimmel has been an outspoken liberal voice. After expressing strong liberal stances on gun control and healthcare in 2017 he said he was willing to lose Republican viewers offended by his opinions, according to the Washington Post. He’s been outspoken against Trump throughout his presidency, and recently critiqued his response to the movement around George Floyd’s death, begging Americans to vote him out of office.