Jimmy Fallon has apologized after “Saturday Night Live” sketch from 2000, featuring him in blackface, resurfaced on Twitter.
“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,” Fallon, 45, tweeted Tuesday. “I am very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive decision and thank all of you for holding me accountable.”
The "SNL" sketch, which has been removed from NBC's website but is circulating on Twitter and YouTube, shows the future "Tonight" show host portraying comedian Chris Rock while talking to Darrell Hammond as TV host Regis Philbin.
Twitter user @chefboyohdear, who appears to have been the first to resurface the old TV clip on the social media site, wrote that Megyn Kelly was fired from NBC in 2018 for appearing to defend blackface as a Halloween costume. Kelly later apologized for her remarks and exited the network in early 2019.
Other entertainers have been called out over social media for similar sketches. Jimmy Kimmel used blackface for a sketch on “The Man Show” in 2000. Sarah Silverman appeared in blackface in a 2007 episode of “The Sarah Silverman Show.” Actor Robert Downey Jr. donned blackface in 2008's “Tropic Thunder.”
A representative for Fallon told USA Today that the comedian has no further comment.
Rock, 55, himself a cast member of "Saturday Night Live" from 1990 to 1993, has not commented on his social media.
NBC did not immediately respond to several news outlets' requests for comment on Tuesday.
Blackface has been used to demean and hurt the black community in the United States. According to CNN:
"The origins of blackface date back to the minstrel shows of mid-19th century. White performers darkened their skin with polish and cork, put on tattered clothing and exaggerated their features to look stereotypically "black." The first minstrel shows mimicked enslaved Africans on Southern plantations, depicting black people as lazy, ignorant, cowardly or hypersexual, according to the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). The performances were intended to be funny to white audiences."