Jimmy Kimmel apologized after facing backlash for "lazy humor" that belittled the gay community
Jimmy Kimmel has apologized for inciting “hatefulness” amid a war of words with Fox News host Sean Hannity. On April 8th, the Jimmy Kimmel Live! host shared a lengthy apology on Twitter for tweets he wrote about Hannity that some critics have deemed homophobic.
After Hannity criticized Kimmel over a recent segment in which he mocked First Lady Melania Trump‘s accent, Kimmel fired back on Twitter Saturday, writing: “When your clown makeup rubs off on Trump’s ass, does it make his butt look like a Creamsicle?”
In a separate tweet, Kimmel wrote, “Don’t worry – just keep tweeting – you’ll get back on top! (or does Trump prefer you on bottom?)”
The tweets faced some backlash on Twitter, where Perez Hilton accused Kimmel of resorting to “lazy humor” and jokes that “consistently use gay men as punchlines.”
The Daily Beast’s Ira Madison III also wrote that if Kimmel “actually cared about gay people [he] wouldn’t resort to clichéd jokes” about gay sex.
Others demanded an apology from not only Kimmel but also Disney, which owns ABC, the network that runs Kimmel’s show. ABC and Disney have not yet weighed in on the controversy, and PEOPLE’s request for comment from ABC was not immediately returned.
Hannity unleashed on Kimmel during his Friday show and on Twitter over the weekend, calling the late-night comedian a “pig, pervert and racist” as well as a “bully” for criticizing the first lady.
“Apologize to the First Lady and I’ll stop. If not, I will NEVER stop. EVER!” Hannity vowed.
Though Kimmel did not specifically apologize to Hannity or the first lady on Sunday, the comedian said he “most certainly did not intend to belittle or upset members of the gay community.”
“To those who took offense, I apologize,” he added.
“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,” Kimmel continued. “Mrs. Trump almost certainly has enough to worry about without being used as a prop to increase TV ratings.”
A spokeswoman for Mrs. Trump did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Also on his Friday show, Hannity played old clips from Kimmel’s time as a co-host of Comedy Central’s The Man Show, including one segment showing Kimmel sporting a fake erection and asking women to find something hidden in his pants.
“Would you want a stranger asking your daughter to ‘grab their crotch, and put their mouths on it?” Hannity later tweeted at Kimmel of the Man Show segment.
Kimmel defended the segment, saying “every woman involved WILLINGLY participated – it’s called a comedy bit.” He then asked Hannity: “Would you want your daughter being ‘grabbed by the p—y’? in a reference to President Donald Trump’s Access Hollywood comments bragging about sexually assaulting women. Hannity, much like the president, dismissed the 2005 comments as “locker room talk.”