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Jokes about Melania Trump have viewers angry at ABC late-night host


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Jokes about Melania Trump have viewers angry at ABC late-night host

ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel's recent jokes about first lady Melania Trump are apparently offending a lot of viewers.

An online petition launched recently, calling for a boycott of “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” has attracted more than 47,000 signatures, toward a goal of 50,000. Organizers say the petition will eventually be sent to “the front door of Disney/ABC Studios” Burbank, Calif.

“We may not get him kicked off the air,” the petition says. “But we can send a message that these attacks on our First Lady will NOT be tolerated!”

Specifically, offended viewers appear to take issue with Kimmel's jokes about the first lady's Slovenian accent. On Monday, he mocked Melania Trump’s reading to children during a White House Easter celebration.

“We may not get him kicked off the air. But we can send a message that these attacks on our First Lady will NOT be tolerated!”

- Online petition against ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live"

“Dees and dat,” Kimmel joked, of her pronunciation of “this or that.”

Kimmel's targeting of the first lady seems to contradict the network's recent assertions that it has captured the hearts of middle America since launching the rebooted "Roseanne" sitcom.


Where does @JimmyKimmel get off making fun of @FLOTUS Melania Trump’s accent? Is he going to make fun of someone from Boston? TX? Or is it just the accents of immigrants he mocks? The woman speaks 5 languages for Pete’s sake! He’s out of line. http://video.foxnews.com/v/5764491076001/?#sp=show-clips 


In fact, beleaguered ABC President Ben Sherwood trumpeted his programming acumen to the New York Times the day after "Roseanne" scored massive ratings, claiming that ABC executives had a meeting the morning after the election about how they could better reach Middle America.

But Sherwood --- who insiders say is fighting for his job as ABC remains mired in fourth place -- has been a particular champion of Kimmel's over the years. When he was president of ABC News, he reportedly supported the network moving Kimmel's low-rated late night show into the more favorable time slot long occupied by ABC News' "Nightline." Later, as ABC president, Sherwood would personally lobby the Academy for Kimmel to host the Oscars.

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 "Jimmy elevated the Emmys," Sherwood said at the time.

It's not clear now how Kimmel's attacks of the First Lady or his subsequent, extremely sexually vulgar jokes regarding President Trump, are elevating anything. 


“’Roseanne’ is dumb luck for them. And now they think this will save their jobs. Well it won’t. It’s one show. The rest of the shop is in utter disarray,” an ABC insider told Fox News.

For example, despite the success of that show in its first two weeks, the network still hasn't addressed viewers' calls for the return of "Last Man Standing," the Tim Allen comedy that many suspect was canceled because of pro-conservative content.

In fact, it can be argued that much of ABC's programming -- and that of sister networks such as ESPN -- actually steers away from the views of people in America's heartland.

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Kimmel isn’t ABC's only anti-Trump star. It was previously reported that the network pays roughly $15 million per year for former Clinton White House aide George Stephanopoulos to host “Good Morning America,” despite questions about whether he's worth the enormous salary. 

Meanwhile, the “American Idol” stars earning the biggest paychecks have been polarizing for viewers, spelling trouble for the expensive reboot. ABC host Ryan Seacrest has been dogged by accusations of sexual harassment leveled by his former stylist for “E! News.” 

"Idol" judge Katy Perry, who was previously a vocal Hillary Clinton supporter, upset viewers recently when she kissed an unsuspecting male contestant on the lips. She was also in a legal battle with some elderly nuns over a convent Perry wanted to convert into a luxury estate.

One of the nuns -- 89-year-old Sister Catherine Rose Holzman -- died last month after collapsing in court in connection with the Perry case. 

ABC also plays home to dramas like “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away With Murder,” each of which are helmed by fiercely anti-Trump activist Shonda Rhimes, Fox News reported. 

Last year, in a roundtable discussion with TV writers for the New York Times, she made comments about those who feel the 2016 election was a wakeup call to TV creators to showcase more stories that appeal to parts of the country that typically skew right.

In January, ABC News demoted its embattled chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross after he botched an “exclusive” report that fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn would testify that then-candidate Donald Trump had ordered him to make contact with Russians about foreign policy. 


Don't worry - just keep tweeting - you'll get back on top! (or does Trump prefer you on bottom?) Either way, keep your chin up big fella..XO https://twitter.com/seanhannity/status/982368324679094272 


I’m physically ill over you making gay a punchline in 2018. With all the hatred out there, this is how you get laughs & RTs @jimmykimmel


Martha Raddatz of ABC News received criticism for seemingly "choking up" on air when discussing the military on the 2016 election night, and Fox News' Howard Kurtz goes into further analysis.  

Meanwhile, Fox News host Sean Hannity has recently criticized Kimmel, saying it was unfair of Kimmel to criticize Melania Trump because the first lady is in a vulnerable position.

"The first lady of the United States is not going to get into a feud with a late-night, low-rated talk show host like Jimmy Kimmel," he said. "She can't. If she does, it's not going to end well for her. So, he knows he has a free, open target."

On Friday, Kimmel launched some jokes about Hannity that offended members of the LGBT community.

“Don’t worry – just keep tweeting – you’ll get back on top! (or does Trump prefer you on the bottom?) Either way, keep your chin up big fella..XO,” Kimmel tweeted.

“I’m physically ill over you making gay a punchline in 2018,” one Kimmel critic tweeted. “With all the hatred out there, this is how you get laughs & RTs.”

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Comedian sorry for Hannity joke, stands by mean-spirited dig at Melania

Comedian sorry for Hannity joke, stands by mean-spirited dig at Melania

After a heated back-and-forth between Jimmy Kimmel and Sean Hannity, the late-night host released a statement Sunday apologizing for a lewd shot at Hannity seen as mocking the gay community -- but Kimmel was unapologetic about his controversial on-air jokes at first lady Melania Trump's expense.

Kimmel's message called for an end to the ongoing feud, which started after he delivered jokes making fun of the first lady's accent. 


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In Sunday's note, Kimmel wrote: 


“I will take Sean Hannity at his word that he was genuinely offended by what I believed and still believe to be a harmless and silly aside referencing our First Lady’s accent. Mrs. Trump almost certainly has enough to worry about without being used as a prop to increase TV ratings.”

Kimmel continued: “I am hopeful that Sean Hannity will learn from this too and continue his newly-found advocacy for women, immigrants and First Ladies and that he will triumph in his heroic battle against sexual harassment and perversion.”

The comedian also drew backlash for a tweet mocking Hannity's connections to President Donald Trump, a tweet that was widely seen as anti-gay. The tweet was quickly deleted, but many fans still were outraged.

In response to the tweet, Kimmel wrote: “By lampooning Sean Hannity’s deference to the President, I most certainly did not intend to belittle or upset members of the gay community and to those who took offense, I apologize.”


Just had this pop up. I am at a tournament with my daughter. I’ll have a full and comprehensive response tomorrow on Hannity. 9 EST FOX.


The tweet was directly addressed to Hannity’s Twitter account. The Fox News host gave a limited response to the tweet within an hour of its posting.

“Just had this pop up,” he wrote along with a screen grab of a news alert about Kimmel’s apology. “I am at a tournament with my daughter. I’ll have a full and comprehensive response tomorrow on Hannity.”


Kimmel also wrote: “While I admit I did have fun with our little back and forth, after some thought, I realize that the level of vitriol from all sides (mine and me included) does nothing good for anyone and, in fact, is harmful to our country. Even in 2018, the vile attacks against my wife and wishes for death on my infant son are shocking and I encourage those who made them to give their words and actions thought. I, too, will give words more thought and recognize my role in inciting their hatefulness.”

While many of Kimmel's fans praised the apology note, many others still were not sold, commenting that it didn't read like a genuine apology. 

"This is not an apology. It sounds like you are trying to save your show from the poor ratings because conservatives will not be watching," one user wrote

"So he apologizes to the 'gay community' because of his joke, but just can't bring himself to apologize to the First Lady for his 'harmless & silly aside' (demeaning her) on how she talks. This is is 'vitriol' that p----- everyone off to begin with and you know it yet no apology," another said

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