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Jimmy Kimmel apologises for LGBT comment in Twitter feud

The chat show host stands by First Lady joke

2018-04-09

Jimmy Kimmel has apologised for his "level of vitriol" during a Twitter spat with Fox News host Sean Hannity.

The 50-year-old American chat show host has an ongoing feud with Hannity after he made a joke on his ABC show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, about Melania Trump's accent, in which Hannity dubbed Kimmel a "despicable disgrace".

Over the following days, the pair took to Twitter to trade insults to each other, with Hannity saying Kimmel is a racist, pervert and a "Harvey Weinstein Jr."

Kimmel responded to the accusations with a sexual innuendo relating to Hannity's love for President Donald Trump, and wrote: "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 [sic]"

Kimmel's comments were quickly slammed by the LGBT+ community and many people called for a boycott of the host.

But now, he issued an apology and said the comments made on both sides were "harmful".

In a statement, Kimmel said: "While I admit I did have fun with our back and forth, after some thought, I realise 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."

He even went on to say how his wife, Molly McNearney, and their infant son, William, have been receiving death threats following on from the feud.

He said: "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 my words more thought and recognise my role in inciting their hatefulness."

Despite saying he will be more mindful of what he says in the future, he stood by his joke about the First Lady.

He said: "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."

The feud started after Kimmel played a clip of Melania reading a book to children during the White House Easter Egg Roll and he attempted to mimic her accent.

He then turned to his Mexican-American sidekick and said: "Guillermo, you know what this means? You could be first lady of the United States."

Hannity then fired back saying: "Liberal Jimmy Kimmel, making fun of the first lady of the United States and her involvement in the White House Easter Egg Roll.

"Even her accent... Now, I'm going to tell you something: What a disgrace. Hey, Mr Kimmel, that's her fifth language. How many do you speak?"