LOS ANGELES – ABC and Jimmy Kimmel have both apologized for a segment that aired on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in mid-October that suggested the U.S. kill all Chinese people, but an organization representing 100 Chinese-American organizations still isn’t satisfied. It has called for a nationwide protest against ABC today in 27 cities, including a rally outside ABC’s headquarters in Burbank.
Charles Lu, chairman of the Roundtable of Chinese American Organizations, said he wants a formal apology from ABC, not just to the groups protesting, but to all Chinese people around the world.
“We know ABC has issued an apology, but that is not enough,” Lu said Thursday. “We want ABC to make a formal apology to all Chinese and do something in the future to avoid terrorist violence.”
Last week, ABC issued the following statement: “We offer our sincere apology. 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. We took swift action to minimize the distribution of the skit by removing it from all public platforms available to us and editing it out of any future airings of the show.”
The current anger stems from a segment that aired on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Oct. 16. The bit, part of a recurring series called “Kids’ Table,” put Kimmel at a table with four children at which they take on a large and complicated real-world issue. In this case, it was the fallout of the U.S. government shutdown.
When Kimmel asked the children how the United States should pay back the country’s $1.3 trillion debt to China, one of the 6-year-old children responded: “Kill everyone in China.” Kimmel responded: “That’s an interesting idea.” He followed up a bit later in the segment by asking: “Should we allow the Chinese to live?”
The children then debated the idea of killing all the Chinese people to avoid paying the U.S. debt.
“The (ABC) leadership should have a procedure to avoid this kind of thing,” said Lu, who said they are no longer targeting Jimmy Kimmel specifically, but the network as a whole.
A spokesperson for ABC declined to comment on the planned protest, but did reiterate that both Kimmel and the network had issued apologies and that the segment had been pulled from various platforms and been edited out of future broadcasts.
A petition on the White House website calling for the offending program to be cut and a formal apology to be issued hit 100,000 signatures in less than 30 days, which means a formal response will be issued by the White House at some point.
Lu said he hopes the White House will call for an “investigation of ABC management.” With the result that they will have a way to “avoid this kind of program” in the future.
He said buses have been set up to shuttle protesters from heavily Chinese-American suburbs of Los Angeles to Burbank on Saturday, and predicts about 5,000 protesters will show up.
In 2008, a protest against CNN in Hollywood against comments critical of China by Jack Cafferty drew 10,000 protesters, Lu said. However, police at the time estimated the number to be closer to 1,500.