Jimmy Kimmel: ‘I have no interest in protecting Harvey Weinstein’

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Jimmy Kimmel has really been winning me over this year, with his emotional statements and good work on health care policy and gun violence. I’m not sure if I would call him America’s Walter Cronkite, but there you go. That’s what New York Magazine calls him. NY Mag did a lengthy interview with Kimmel about politics, Harvey Weinstein, and how he’s history of bro-ism gives him a more authentic voice. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

Why political messages coming from him in particular resonate: “I remember having a conversation with Ellen once, and she was really upset because — I don’t remember specifically what was going on — there was some kind of anti-gay movement going on. I remember telling her that the country has come a long way [on gay rights] and reminding her that President Obama pretended to be against gay marriage for quite some time. Not that I was explaining anything to her, but to hear someone like me talk about equal rights for homosexual people hits harder than when people hear her talk about it. To hear the guy from The Man Show talk about that in an inclusive way — I have some credibility.

His real & constant worries: “There’s definitely been a shift in my feeling about the country over the last year or so. I feel frustrated. I don’t know — maybe a lot of it is media hysteria, but I go to bed worried and I wake up worried, and I honestly don’t know if things are going to be okay. I worry that we’re going to look back at Donald Trump almost fondly because someone worse will come after him. It’s a result of our Celebrity Apprentice president. I never imagined he would actually be elected. I remember joking about it: If you tried to think of the most extreme example of someone who would never be elected president, Trump was a name you’d throw in there. There was a time when I thought this country was much more likely to elect Maury Povich as president than Donald Trump. His election was shocking. It makes me question everything.

On the criticism that he hasn’t said enough about Harvey Weinstein: “I guess now I’m supposed to comment on everything that happens? And by the way, it’s not just from the right. Now I see it from the left, “Aren’t you going to say anything about fill-in-the-blank?” That’s not what I do, and if I did, believe me, you’d get bored in a hurry. The Harvey Weinstein thing makes no sense: This perception that the right has spread around that I’ve not made any jokes about it is false…[the] facts don’t seem to be of interest to anyone. Secondly, we do the show Monday through Thursday. I didn’t see the Weinstein story break till shortly before the show started on a Thursday night, and then we had a rerun on Friday, so that’s why it wasn’t mentioned in our monologue. We would’ve had to go back and rewrite the whole show, and we’re not going to do that for someone who was then not even known to 90 percent of the country. I have no interest in protecting Harvey Weinstein. I couldn’t care less about Harvey Weinstein. Hopefully, he will get what he deserves and we’ll all move on with our lives.

Whether things will change because of the Weinstein story: “I hope so. I definitely think it will make the guys who do this kind of thing think twice. But it’s silly to point at Hollywood specifically. Hollywood’s not so different than any other business.

Whether Hollywood liberals turned a blind eye to Weinstein: “I don’t know. I mean, I remember hearing one story about Harvey, but it seemed designed to tarnish an actress. It was about some actress trading a sexual favor to get into a movie, and I always just assumed that it was probably untrue, and it was none of my business either way.

Whether he’ll joke about Weinstein as Oscar host: “It’s not really a laughing matter. There’ll be a lot of people in that room who maybe have been through experiences with him, and that’s not something I want them to relive on the night they get their Oscar. The Oscars are so far out. It’s hard to figure out what we’re going to say on the next show, let alone in March. There might not be an Oscars, because North Korea may have struck the Dolby Theatre.

[From Vulture]

If you read the full piece, there’s a vein of #NotAllMen-ing and #NotAllWhiteFolks and #ItHappensEverywhere to Kimmel’s arguments, which comes across as dismissive at times. I’m not saying that Kimmel is not a powerful voice against fascism – he IS a powerful voice. But that’s partly because he’s so deeply entrenched in toxic masculinity and white privilege too. He’s basically admitting that as well, that when a message of inclusion comes from a guy like him, somehow people take it more seriously. As for what he says about Weinstein… it reminds me a lot of what George Clooney said initially, which is that a lot of men heard some of the sh-t but ignored it. But I also agree that… like, what jokes can you really make about Weinstein? The stories are horrific and if you attempt to joke about any part of the story, you might end up punching down.

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26 Responses to “Jimmy Kimmel: ‘I have no interest in protecting Harvey Weinstein’”

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  1. Annika says:

    I respect him for his comments here. He’s said more than most males in Hollywood.
    I wonder how he feels about the stance of the Dumb & Dumber Twins? (Damon & Affleck)

    • Casey. _ says:

      Yea to me he’s underselling what he knew, to keep aligned with broskis Damon and Clooney. The ol’ we heard vague whispering a that this or that actress was a ho with HW, but of course they have too much integrity to believe said whisperings.

      What many people don’t understand is that the huge agencies/PR flacks that 9 of 10 celebrities are signed with, would have given their first born and killed someone to be anoited by HW. His agency especially. HW had a very long reach into every pie and you didn’t make an enemy of him. Even now before he knew he was going to be deep sixed by his company he was hiring Mossad agents to tail and threaten women who were talking or even the ones he thought would talk (it’s why Annabella initially balked). They feared for their lives. If not for his company giving him the boot and taking away his power he might have survived this. He was imploring agencies to back him.

      None of these guys would have ever stood up if his company hadn’t dropped him, and even now they’re only at half crouch. You could have 501 women and HW would have used his contacts at the bloids to smear them all – it’s what he was working on.

  2. serena says:

    While of course he’s privileged white man, I’m respecting him more and more, as opposite to the likes of Jimmy Fallon who won’t ever say anything to anyone because entertainment.. (really?).

  3. Lilly says:

    He’s right about sexual harassment/assault/abuse being present in every business. I hope all men begin changing their attitudes and behavior and if they’re worried, that’s okay with me too. They know their behavior and actions were wrong.

    • klc says:

      While it may be a lot of businesses I would say banging the manager of a McDonalds to get ahead is a lot less common than what is going on in Hollywood.

      He is minimizing how rampant it is in Hollywood

  4. Katherine says:

    Weekend update and Seth and Sam Bee had excellent jokes, even Maher. It’s worse to ignore it like it’s some niche thing

  5. littlemissnaughty says:

    “There’ll be a lot of people in that room who have protected and supporte him, and I want my peers to like me so that’s not something I want them be confronted with on the night they get their Oscar.”

    Fixed it for ya, Jimmy.

    Look, I get it, He can’t be everything to everyone and he’s under no obligation to speak out more on this. But his reasoning for it sounds unconvincing.

    • perplexed says:

      How does one make jokes about this issue though? I think anything one says as a joke on this kind of issue could be taken the wrong way or misinterpreted as a slight on the victim, even if his intended target is Harvey Weinstein.

      I actually think it would be easier to make fun of George Clooney (like that Oscar speech he made years ago about being proud of being part of the Hollywood community) and Matt Damon. But any jokes involving Harvey and his victims could accidentally land on the victim by mistake.

    • Nicole says:

      No he has it right…a joke would be demeaning to any actress that suffered at his hands. And believe me there will be women that have not come forward publicly that were probably assaulted by him or others like him.

    • PPP says:

      No, I really agree with him. Someone that’s actually been raped by Weinstein doesn’t want to watch the situation made light of.

    • QueenB says:

      I think Late Night hosts should mock him now but its totally cool to not also make the Oscars about it.

    • Lizzie says:

      he is 100% right about the oscars. i agree that people need to name names and these jerks need to be shamed out of hollywood. i agree that people who were silent bystanders need to be confronted but this situation is in no way funny. there is no comedian skilled enough to land a joke about a rapist in a room full of his victims. its inappropriate and unnecessary. to joke about weinstein just to make the people who turned a blind eye squirm is really cruel to the people who have suffered at his hand. its an award ceremony – not a roast. The thing that would hurt harvey weinstein the worst is to completely shut his name out of awards season. no one should mention him. it will kill him.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      I did not say it should be jokes. But even if I agreed with him, I still doubt his motives.

    • K says:

      He can hardly issue a trigger warning, can he?

      A lot of women in Hollywood will have suffered at his hands. It seems very probable that we’ll only ever know about a handful, and that’s also as it should be – they deserve their privacy. They also deserve not to be faced with jokes about the man and his crimes against them in a setting that isn’t just public, but broadcast globally.

      Sure, his motives probably include a measure of self interest. But at least he’s engaging with this issue. As Fallon has demonstrated, not all would.

  6. Neelyo says:

    I haven’t watched an awards show in years, particularly avoiding the Oscars. I just might watch this year because it will probably be such a painfully awkward pageant.

  7. SM says:

    I agree that joking about HW at the oscars is the worst idea ever. Also this: I worry that we’re going to look back at Donald Trump almost fondly because someone worse will come after him. – isn’t it how we think about G W. Bush now?
    And I hoped for better from him. He does sound a bit dismissive at times

  8. Otaku Fairy says:

    “I remember hearing one story about Harvey, but it seemed designed to tarnish an actress. It was about some actress trading a sexual favor to get into a movie, and I always just assumed that it was probably untrue..”

    I believe him when he says this, because he’s definitely not alone in hearing things this way, and almost every woman and girl in Hollywood ever has been a target of that kind of rumor at some point. It’s hardly just Gretchen Mol. This is part of the reason why those involved in the problematic trend of circulating rumors or dirty jokes about women and underage girls they don’t care for owing their careers to trading sexual favors are complicit. Besides the whole garden variety sexism of it, it blurs the lines and makes it harder to tell when there are people actually being sexually abused by someone, when someone is just being made a target by detractors for misogyny and whorephobia, and when someone is being smeared for turning down sexual advances. In the case of starlets who are accused of having done this while underage, it also promotes the gross myth that children can consent and that this is just a matter of people needing to control their fast, thirsty daughters. Sexual predators like Harvey Weinstein- abusers of all kinds, really- benefit from a clulture that’s constantly eager to slut-shame and diminish women and girls.

    • QueenB says:

      I also dont think Kimmel is deep into Hollywood. He has some friends sure but he isnt really working in the movie world. The actors working with Weinstein and even more the agents should be asked.

  9. Naomi says:

    I find him hypocritical not to taken on Weinstein.
    And for him to say he isn’t in Hollywood is rich. He hosted the Oscars last year and will be the host for 2018 too. He is a late night show host where he only interviews celebs.
    Lets not forget he used to host that misogynistic and disgusting skit called ” The Man Show”.

    • pwal says:

      I’m with you.

      He had the wherewithal to take on Cosby, MJ, etc., but now has a sensitive poet’s soul when it comes to Weinstein? Nope.

      He’s Team It’s a New York Thing!

  10. Phooey says:

    I’ll watch again when he picks on everybody of both political parties equally. Currently late night talk shows are strictly talking heads for the liberals,

  11. Hum says:

    He has no problem invinting johnny depp and affleck and damon and casey affleck over and celebrate their amazing personas

  12. kaye says:


  13. perplexed says:

    I didn’t think so either.

  14. JennieK_NS says:

    I read the full piece. I did not get that sense at all.