Chinese Americans Not Satisfied with ABC and Kimmel’s Apologies

Chinese Americans Not Satisfied with ABC and Kimmel’s Apologies

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Fifty thousand Chinese Americans rallied in 27 U.S. cities last Saturday to protest what they call racist comments made during the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show that airs on ABC. The show’s host and ABC have apologized for the unscripted comments made by a child, but that wasn’t enough to quell the anger of Chinese American protestors, who say the apologies were inadequate.

The protests are in reaction to a segment called "Kids Table" that aired on Jimmy Kimmel's show on Oct. 16. Kimmel asked a group of boys and girls how should the U.S. pay nearly $1.3 trillion in debt to China during the segment, and a six-year-old boy said, in an unscripted comment, that the U.S. should "kill everyone in China."

During the sketch, Kimmel turned to the other kid guests and said: “OK, that’s an interesting idea… Should we allow the Chinese to live?”

Chinese American protesters called for Kimmel to be fired and urged ABC’s parent company Walt Disney Company to make an official apology. The demonstrations are believed to be the largest protest held by the Chinese community in the United States. The protesters also prompted the submission of a petition to the White House to investigate the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show on the grounds of offensive content. The petition has garnered more than 100,000 signatures, which means the U.S. government has to provide an official response.

According to Chinese language newspaper World Journal, several hundred protesters in Houston urged ABC to stop racism against the Chinese and fire Kimmel. In New York, about 500 protesters raised signs of “Shame on you Disney” and “Boycott ABC” and they all urged Kimmel to make a “sincere” apology as Kimmel’s apology was considered “too short” and “not formal.” Some Chinese parents also called for an end to “hate speech” as they are worried about the impact of the comment on their children.

“We have no tolerance for racial discrimination. We have to stop it to protect ourselves and our kids,” said Shuigen Xiao, who organized the protest in Washington, D.C.

In San Francisco, over a thousand Chinese Americans gathered in front of City Hall, and several Chinese American elected officials participated in the rallies, including Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, Alameda City Councilmembers Lena Tam and Stewart Chen, San Leandro Councilmember Benny Lee, San Jose City Councilmember Kansen Chu, Cupertino Councilmember Barry Chang, San Francisco Board of Supervisors president David Chiu, San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar, Assemblyman Phil Ting and State Board of Equalization member Betty Yee.

Mayor Quan said Chinese Americans continue to be victimized by injustice and prejudice since the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, then the "Murder of Vincent Chin", and the case of Dr. Wen Ho Lee.” Although the Chinese Exclusion Act was eventually repealed, she said, racism against the Chinese persists. Quan said the comment of “killing everyone in China” was wrong and inappropriate. “ABC needs to take its responsibility and make a formal apology.”

Carl Chan of Asian Americans for Political Advancement (AAPA) said the Chinese have been treated unfairly and they should not stay silent this time. “We urge ABC's parent company Walt Disney to apologize to Chinese community and fire Kimmel,” he said. “ If our demand is ignored, we will call for all Chinese companies to terminate business with ABC.”

AAPA President Xiao-guang Sun told World Journal Thursday that the majority of Chinese Americans don’t accept ABC and Kimmel’s apologies. “We think their apologies are not sincere because both of them did not clarify what they made wrong.” “AAPA will line up with other Chinese organizations to take further action for the dignity and respect that Chinese Americans deserve.”

ABC issued a statement saying, "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."

Jimmy Kimmel said, "I just want to say I am sorry." "I apologize. It was certainly not my intent to upset anyone."