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CAPAC Issues Letter on Racially Insensitive “Kids’ Table” Segment on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) sent a letter to Paul Lee, President of the ABC Entertainment Group, in response to an offensive “Kids’ Table” segment aired on Jimmy Kimmel Live. CAPAC Chair Judy Chu (CA-27), Chair Emeritus Mike Honda (CA-17) and Executive Board Members Eni Faleomavaega (AS) and Grace Meng (NY-06) released the following statements:
Representative Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair: “While Mr. Kimmel’s on-air apology for his “Kids’ Table” segment lacked substance or sincerity, I am glad that ABC Entertainment Group apologized for the offensive segment and addressed the matter with the seriousness that it merits. I applaud the Asian American community’s swift organization and response to condemning the segment and demanding an immediate apology. Moving forward, I intend to have an open dialogue with ABC Entertainment Group to ensure that diversity is respected at every level of the organization.”
Representative Mike Honda (CA-17), Chair Emeritus: “I am glad that ABC has issued an apology for remarks aired on its network against the Chinese people. It is important for everyone -- especially children -- to realize that hate speech left unchecked is dangerous. While Mr. Kimmel's words still leave much to be desired, it is also up to all of us to ensure that everyone's rights and dignity are respected.”
Representative Eni Faleomavaega (AS): “I am thankful that ABC Entertainment Group has apologized on behalf of Jimmy Kimmel’s “Kids’ Table” segment and given this issue the serious attention it deserves. I also commend the Asian American community’s advocacy in response to this issue. While a child may not understand the prevalence of genocide or the ramifications of a joke suggesting the U.S. ‘kill everyone in China,’ a major network has a higher responsibility to its viewers and the public. As a member of CAPAC and also as Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, I am pleased to know that ABC has demonstrated its commitment to the Asian American community and Asian viewers around the world. I look forward to working with my CAPAC colleagues to ensure that major networks continue to fulfill this responsibility.”
Representative Grace Meng (NY-06): “I acknowledge the apology offered by Jimmy Kimmel and ABC and thank them for recognizing the sensitivities involved in this matter. I appreciate them being responsive to our concerns, and I am confident that they will use better discretion and judgment in the future.”
On October 16, 2013, comedian Jimmy Kimmel ran a segment on his show called “Kids’ Table,” where he spoke with four children about various political issues. When asked how to address our national debt owed to China, one of the children suggested that the United States “kill everyone in China.” The audience laughed and Mr. Kimmel acknowledged the comment with, “That’s an interesting idea.” He brought the comment up one more time, eliciting laughter, before concluding the segment.
CAPAC’s letter to ABC calls for Mr. Kimmel to issue a formal apology for airing the segment and requests that ABC Entertainment Group ensure that the segment is removed from all future broadcasts. A copy of the letter can be found here.
CAPAC will also seek a meeting with ABC Entertainment Group to discuss the need for racial diversity and tolerance in entertainment programming.
The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.