Jimmy Fallon is apologizing after coming under fire on social media due to a recently resurfaced Saturday Night Liveclip in which the late-night host is seen performing in blackface.
The Tonight Show host took to Twitter on Tuesday to issue a statement after the hashtag "#jimmyfallonisover" began trending, in reference to the 2000 sketch, in which Fallon donned a painted face, wig and goatee to play Chris Rock, opposite Darrell Hammond's Regis Philbin, who was then the host of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.
“Regis, do you think the only way to get a brother on the show is to name it, Who Wants $50 Cash and a Pair of Pumas?” asks Fallon in the sketch, claiming that the reason the game show doesn't have many black contestants is because, "black folks don't want to answer questions."
"In 2000, while on SNL, I made a terrible decision to do an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface," Fallon tweeted on Tuesday. "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."
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.— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) May 26, 2020
I am very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive decision and thank all of you for holding me accountable.
Though the clip in question is 20 years old, Fallon has shown off his Rock impression much more recently, breaking out the voice, sans blackface, while hosting the Golden Globe Awards in January 2017:
Jimmy Fallon's Chris Rock impressions is... uh, well.... pic.twitter.com/VIj4niRcMt— Screening (@screening) January 9, 2017
Fallon is not the only celeb to be called out over their use of blackface, however, online critics have pointed out that back in October 2018, NBC canceled Megyn Kelly's show, Megyn Kelly Today, after the host made controversial comments on air about wearing blackface as part of Halloween costumes.
"What is racist?" Kelly questioned at the time. "You do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface for Halloween, or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. Back when I was a kid, that was OK just as long as you were dressing as a character."
See more in the video below.