Jimmy Fallon apologized for a 20-year-old “Saturday Night Live” skit where he wore blackface to impersonate Chris Rock. Here’s how the clip resurfaced.
Jimmy Fallon returned to “The Tonight Show” Monday after a weeklong break and addressed his blackface controversy.
Last week, Fallon apologized for a resurfaced “Saturday Night Live” sketch two decades ago in which he impersonated Chris Rock in blackface makeup.
“In 2000, while on SNL, I made a terrible decision to do an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface,” the comedian, 45, wrote on Twitter. “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.”
While some used the hashtag #jimmyfallonisoverparty to cancel the comedian, others, including actor Jamie Foxx, came to his defense.
In Monday’s episode of the late night show, Fallon promised “a different kind of show” before saying he was going to “start this personally, then expand out.”
“That’s where we all need to start, with ourselves and looking at ourselves in the mirror,” he continued. “I had to really examine myself in the mirror this week because a story came out about me on ‘SNL’ doing an impression of Chris Rock in blackface. And I was horrified. Not of people trying to ‘cancel’ me or cancel this show, which is scary enough. The thing that haunted me the most was, how do I say I love this person?”
“I respect this guy more than I respect most humans,” Fallon said of Rock. “I’m not a racist. I don’t feel this way.”
Fallon said he was advised to “just stay quiet and not say anything” and took the advice before deciding to release his previous statement.
“I realized that I can’t not say I’m horrified and I’m sorry and I’m embarrassed,” Fallon said. “I realized that the silence is the biggest crime that white guys like me and the rest of us are doing, staying silent. We need to say something. We need to keep saying something. And we need to stop saying ‘that’s not OK’ more than just one day on Twitter.”
He said he “needed to get educated” and spoke to several experts, including President and CEO of the NAACP Derrick Johnson, who was Fallon’s guest that night.
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