Oct. 29, 2013 at 10:05 AM ET
Jimmy Kimmel loves working with children because he never knows just what they're going to say. Unfortunately, in a recent "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" skit, a child's suggestion to "kill everyone in China" to settle U.S. debt has led to an uproar.
The Oct. 16 "Kids Table" sketch showed a well-dressed panel of children talking about the government and how to spell "Barack Obama." At one point, Kimmel asked the children how the U.S. should pay China back what it owes ($1.3 trillion).
Little Braxton cut right to the chase. Giggling and falling over on the table, he said, "Kill everyone in China!"
Later on, when Kimmel asked the raucous bunch "should we allow the Chinese to live?" the table erupted in "yes!" except for Braxton, who insisted "no!" A small debate ensued over what it would mean to commit this genocide, and Kimmel wrapped things up by calling this "Kids Table" the "Lord of the Flies" edition.
The skit didn't cause much of a ripple initially, but Chinese-Americans were unhappy, and over 65,000 signed a White House petition calling for an investigation that likened the language used on "Live" to Nazi Germany's attack on Jews. On Monday, protesters convened outside ABC's San Francisco offices (Time magazine reported a little over 100 people were present). Some carried pictures of Kimmel's face with a Hitler mustache superimposed.
The clip was taken off of YouTube, and ABC sent out a formal 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," said ABC executives.
Kimmel's use of children in comedy has had mixed results: his "Baby Bachelor" skit was a hit, while Kanye West recently took exception to having an interview he gave with BBC Radio re-enacted by children.