Jimmy Fallon spoke on a broadcast of The Tonight Show on Monday about an old Saturday Night Live sketch for which he had painted his face black. "I'm not a racist, I don't feel that way."
In the sketch, which aired in 2000 and started circulating last week, the black-painted Fallon pretended to be comedian Chris Rock. As a result, Fallon came under fire and the hashtag #JimmyFallonIsOverParty became trending on Twitter.
The talk show host apologized via Twitter. Fallon says he is very sorry that he "made this undoubtedly offensive decision" and thanked everyone who held him responsible for it.
On Monday evening, the presenter said that he held up a mirror to himself last week. "I was shocked," he said. "Not because people wanted to 'cancel' me. The thing that haunted me most was, how do I say I love this person (Chris Rock, ed.)? I respect this man more than most people. I'm not a racist. I don't feel that way. "
He said he initially kept quiet because he thought a reaction would make everything worse. "Through conversations with experts, I realized that silence is the biggest crime. We have to say something. We have to keep saying it's not okay and longer than just one day on Twitter."