ABC landed in hot water due to the unscripted comment of "Kill everyone in China" made during the October 16 episode of "Jimmy Kimmel Live!". "We're writing to offer our sincere apology," the network says in a statement after getting a storm of backlashes for allowing the insensitive joke to air on its late-night show.
"We would never purposefully broadcast anything to upset the Chinese community, Asian community, anyone of Chinese descent or any community at large...our objective is to entertain," ABC continues, adding that they have "taken swift action" to remove the comment from all media platforms and promised to "edit it out of any future airing of the show."
The controversial joke was made by one of the children in Jimmy Kimmel's "Kids Table" panel. "America owes a lot of money to China, $1.3 trillion. How should we pay them back?" the host asked his young guests at one point, to which a kid blurted out, "Kill everyone in China." Kimmel reportedly laughed and replied, "Kill everyone in China? OK that's an interesting idea."
An Asian-American group, 80-20, quickly posted a White House petition urging President Barack Obama to investigate the matter. "The kids might not know anything better. However, Jimmy Kimmel and ABC's management are adults. They had a choice not to air this racist program, which promotes racial hatred. The program is totally unacceptable and it must be cut. A sincere apology must be issued," it read.
The group's chairman S.B. Woo told E! News he started the protest after finding out that "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" actually was not a live show. "Personally I don't consider it as an 80-20 victory at all. Instead it is a sad teachable moment for our community. I humbly hope that this incident has shown our community the importance of SELF RELIANCE," he said.
The petition has got nearly 60,000 signatures so far. It needs 100,000 signatures to go to the president.