Cancel culture had its latest event today and it appears its Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon’s turn to be targeted by the social media mob.
Fallon, 45, who took over from Jay Leno to host the renamed The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon has mostly avoided scandal through his six-year run with the show. Rumors about the reason for a 2015 finger injury he suffered might have been the worst thing he’s dealt with so far. Speculation at the time suggested alcohol may have been involved, but Fallon explained it as a freak accident.
But today, social media somehow dug up an old Saturday Night Live skit from 2000 that showed Fallon in full blackface. The skit shows Fallon impersonating former SNL star Chris Rock who was a member of the show’s cast from 1990 – 1993.
First tweeted by @chefboyodear as reported by Variety, the skit, also featuring SNL’s Darrell Hammond, is a little cringeworthy in light of today’s much more sensitive racial meter, but has remained mostly below the radar until today.
— s🅰️m🐀 (@chefboyohdear) May 26, 2020
The tweet referenced former NBC’s Megyn Kelly’s 2018 comments on wearing blackface during Halloween, which were viewed as the reason she was ultimately let go from her eponymous show. (Bad ratings and her $69M contract were likely the main reason.)
According to Variety, Fallon is just one of several comedians who’ve worn blackface including fellow talk show host Jimmy Kimmel and comedian Sarah Silverman. Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. took blackface to the ultimate extreme by playing a Black man in the film Tropic Thunder.
After the #JimmyFallonisOverParty became a hotly debated trending topic on Twitter, Fallon quickly apologized.
In 2000, while on SNL, I made a terrible decision to do an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface. 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.
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) May 26, 2020
The debate raged on both sides but it seems this tweet summed it up perfectly:
Jimmy Fallon isn’t funny but he shouldn’t be “cancelled” for dressing up like Chris Rock 20 years ago.
You’ve had around 7,000 days to be upset. But social media told you to be today. pic.twitter.com/Y3lDwhCI0Y
— Mac Diesel (@ONLYMacDiesel) May 26, 2020
Or really, this one:
Things people can’t seem to be pissed off about:
* Kids in Cages
* Kids being murdered
* Police Brutality
* Lack of Social Distancing
Thing’s we’re “supposed” to be pissed off about, apparently:
* Jimmy Fallon as Chris Rock
* Jimmy Kimmel as Karl Malone
— JRCharney (@JRCharney) May 26, 2020
Blackface, as a whole, is a racist and outdated practice. Hopefully, celebs and comedians have now learned their lesson. But in the midst of a pandemic that, given Memorial Day sightings of masses of people hanging out together, we figure is set for a resurgence, we just can’t summon the same outrage over this at the moment.
Let’s keep that same energy in November and cancel someone who truly deserves it.
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