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Jimmy Fallon apologizes for wearing blackface in resurfaced SNL clip

Jimmy Fallon has issued an apology for wearing blackface.

The Tonight Show host tweeted an apology after being criticized for a resurfaced Saturday Night Live clip of the actor impersonating comedian Chris Rock.

The hashtag #jimmyfallonisoverparty was trending on Tuesday while users called out the NBC late-night host for the sketch, in which Fallon did an impersonation of the former SNL cast member (Rock was on the show from 1990 to 1993).

“In 2000, while on SNL, I made a terrible decision to do an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface,” Fallon wrote. “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.”

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According to Variety, the clip was resurfaced by the Twitter user @chefboyohdear, who wrote: “NBC fired Megyn Kelly for mentioning blackface. Jimmy Fallon performed on NBC in blackface.” The video has racked up nearly 1 million views.

Here’s the clip, which costars Darrell Hammond:

Fallon’s SNL sketch has been periodically resurfaced and criticized, but this might have been the first time the talk show host has addressed it.

NBC canceled Megyn Kelly Today after blackface controversy in 2018. Kelly had an all-white panel discussing campus attempts to discourage “inappropriate and offensive costumes” when Kelly asked: “But what is racist? Because truly, you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface at Halloween or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. Back when I was a kid, that was okay as long as you were dressing up as like a character.”

Previously, comedian Sarah Silverman was criticized for wearing blackface during a sketch from a 2007 episode of The Sarah Silverman Program where her character put on face paint to see whether it is more difficult to be black or Jewish. Silverman also claimed the sketch got her fired from the cast of an unnamed movie.

“I recently was going to do a movie … a really sweet part and a cool little movie,” she told The Bill Simmons podcast in 2019. “Then at 11 p.m. the night before, they fired me because they saw that picture of me in blackface from that episode. So they hired someone else who’s wonderful but who’s never stuck her neck out. It was so disheartening, it just made me real, real sad because I’ve kind of devoted my life to making it right.” She also told GQ in 2018: “I don’t stand by the blackface sketch. I’m horrified by it, and I can’t erase it. I can only be changed by it and move on. That was such liberal-bubble stuff, where I actually thought it was dealing with racism by using racism.”

Also, ABC’s late-night host Jimmy Kimmel has also worn blackface in a sketch on The Man Show, which ran from 1999 to 2004, where he put on dark makeup to portray Utah Jazz player Karl Malone. Last year, actor-rapper Nick Cannon called out Kimmel, Silverman and Fallon for the sketches. “These recent revealings of people painting themselves black or brown and speaking in broken slang in an attempt to be humorous or have fun; as if our culture is some sort of party trick or costume is unacceptable,” Cannon wrote. “Racism is when an ‘elite’ group uses its systemic power to enforce harm, hardship, and pain on others.”

NBC had no comment on the SNL sketch. Rock had no immediate comment. Rock will next be seen in a dramatic role in FX’s Fargo season 4, which is expected to resume filming later this summer and premiere this fall.

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