American comedian Jimmy Kimmel and his talk show have ignited ire among Chinese netizens after a kid on his show suggested solving the US debt crisis by "killing everyone in China."
The talk show, which was broadcast on the ABC Network on October 16, invited four kids to discuss the government shutdown. In the clip, when Kimmel asked what to do about the $1.3 trillion US debt to China, a boy suggested killing everyone in China so the US would not need to pay back their debts. Hearing this, Jimmy Kimmel commented "ok, it's an interesting idea," and turned to the other kids.
The clip spread widely online, with critics calling it racial discrimination. Some netizens launched a petition on the White House petition website on October 19, asking the Obama administration to "investigate the Jimmy Kimmel Kid's Table Government Shutdown Show on the ABC network."
According to the website "We Are the People," if a petition meets the 100,000 signature threshold on November 18, it will be reviewed by the US administration and it will issue a response. To date, more than 14,800 people have signed the petition.
"The kids might not know any better. However, Jimmy Kimmel and ABC's management are adults. They had a choice not to air this racist program, which promotes racial hatred," the petition creator wrote on the page, demanding a sincere apology while comparing the words used in Kimmel's program to those used by Nazi Germany against Jewish people.
Jimmy Kimmel and ABC Network have not yet commented.
Joe Wong, a Chinese American stand-up comedian, asked netizens to sign the petition on his Sino Weibo. "I am a comedian, but I am also a Chinese. They dare to make fun of Chinese, whom are under-represented and minorities there, but they are afraid of mentioning other races. The reason is that they know the consequences of offending blacks or Jews are more serious," Wong wrote.
One netizen, "claluc100," commented under the clip on Youtube, saying "On the one hand the media claim to be against racial discrimination and support universal values, on the other hand they incite racial hatred and even air programs to instigate genocide (even using kids as tools). Such a double standard."
Gu Xiaoming, a professor at the School of Humanities at Fudan University, told the Global Times that some were reading too much into comments from a child. "The host thought the kid's comment was absurd so that he laughed and moved on to the next topic," he added.
But it showed us that the American public, even children, are well aware of the $1.3 trillion US debt crisis and it reflected Americans' anxiety on the issue to some extent, Gu added.
"We also need to consider how such horrible sentence came from a kid," he said, while asking what kind of atmosphere could encourage it.