Jimmy Fallon has issued an apology for wearing blackface in a resurfaced SNL sketch
After a full day of trending on Twitter, Jimmy Fallon has issued a public apology for wearing blackface in a resurfaced Saturday Night Live sketch.
In the sketch, which aired in 2000, Fallon appeared in blackface to portray Chris Rock, who was in conversation with Regis Philbin (as played by Darrell Hammond). NBC had previously scrubbed the video from their official channels, but the clip continued to circulate on Twitter, resulting in a trending hashtag: #JimmyFallonIsOverParty. As public outcry mounted throughout the day on Tuesday, with Twitter users calling for Fallon’s cancellation, Fallon was driven to make a statement.
"In 2000, while on SNL, I made a terrible decision to do an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface," Fallon wrote on Twitter. "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."
Fallon has impersonated Rock for years, including on The Howard Stern Show, though only once in blackface, to the public’s knowledge.
NBC, which hosts both Saturday Night Live and Fallon’s Tonight Show, has yet to comment on the matter, though this isn't the network's first high-profile blackface scandal. In 2018, Today anchor Megyn Kelly was fired from the network after a massive backlash following her defense of blackface in Halloween costumes. Fallon has also come under fire for blackface before as recently as February 2019, when Nick Cannon shared a screenshot of Fallon's Rock impersonation in a collage of comedians and late-night hosts wearing blackface. On that occasion, Fallon declined to respond to public outrage.
Like NBC, Rock has yet to comment. We'll continue to update this story as it develops.