Jimmy Fallon has apologized after using blackface to impersonate Chris Rock during a 2000 episode of Saturday Night Live.
The late-night host found himself at the center of a social media storm on Tuesday after a video of the sketch started circulating and many people became aware of it for the first time.
Jimmy Fallon apologizes for using blackface
Fallon, who is a frequent Twitter user himself, was quick to react and issue an apology.
In a tweet he confirmed that he did use blackface while playing Chris Rock in the sketch. He went on to apologize for doing it and thanking his fans.
The skit itself also included Darrell Hammond playing Regis Philbin and it aired during a live episode of SNL roughly 20 years ago. It is unclear why it suddenly resurfaced so many years later.
The comedian ended the post by saying, “thank all of you for holding me accountable.”
In 2000, while on SNL, I made a terrible decision to do an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface. There is no excuse for this.
I am very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive decision and thank all of you for holding me accountable.
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) May 26, 2020
Twitter reacts to news of Jimmy Fallon blackface
There was a definite split between people supporting Fallon and accepting his apology, and those people who didn’t want to hear any excuses for why he ever did a sketch in blackface.
One Twitter user stated, “It’s sad that a comedian that has done nothing but give back to his community has to apologize for a skit that was written by someone else 20 years ago.”
Comedian Dave Weasel wrote, “Mannnnnnnnnnn that was 20 years ago, ask Chris Rock what he thinks about it and that should be the level to guage the outrage, okay other white people?[sic]”
Weasel wrote in another post later, “People should seek Fallon’s intent here. Was he meaning to be racist or was it a silly impression? There are real racial injustices RIGHT NOW to point the pitchforks at, that’s all I’m saying. Okay other white people?”
Another fan on Twitter posted, “Jimmy you didn’t have to apologize. It’s was just a skit. We all knew you were impersonating Chris Rock. I hate that you had to post this tweet. We love you.[sic]”
One person took it upon themselves to address the commenters themselves:
all the white ppl in the comments saying he doesn’t have to apologize….
1. not your place to determine whether or not he has to apologize
2. blackface is bad and unquestionably offensive, as fallon stated
3. many members of the black community called for an apology
— Justice for Aimee Stephens (@xdubyaa) May 27, 2020
It seems likely that Fallon may be forced to address the issue on his show as well. Chris Rock — who this year stars in psychological horror movie Spiral — has not yet issued a statement about the controversy.