Jimmy Kimmel moved to defuse his escalating feud with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Sunday, issuing a statement on Twitter saying that while he had enjoyed their verbal combat, he realized that “the level of vitriol from all sides (mine and me included) does nothing good for anyone and, in fact, is harmful to our country.”
Decrying “vile attacks” against his wife and “wishes for death” on his infant son, the late-night host pledged to “give my words more thought and recognize my role in inciting their hatefulness.”
Kimmel also offered a measured apology for jokes about Hannity’s unflagging support for President Trump that have been criticized as homophobic. “By lampooning Sean Hannity’s deference to the President, I most certainly did not intend to belittle or upset members of the gay community and to those who took offense, I apologize,” Kimmel wrote.
Kimmel and Hannity have been exchanging broadsides for several days, with Hannity blasting Kimmel for poking fun at Melania Trump’s accent as she read to children during the White House Easter egg roll. “Jimmy, you’re a despicable disgrace,” Hannity said Wednesday on his eponymous TV program. He also called Kimmel an “ass clown” and defended the first lady by saying English is “her fifth language. How many do you speak?”
Kimmel fired back on his own program, “This is the guy who defended the multiply alleged pedophile Roy Moore, and I’m a despicable disgrace?! I’m the ass clown?! If I’m an ass clown, and I might very well be, you, Sean, are the whole ass circus.”
The two continued trading barbs on social media into the weekend.
In his tweet Sunday, Kimmel said, “I will take Sean Hannity at his word that he was genuinely offended by what I believed and still believe to be a harmless and silly aside referencing our First Lady’s accent. Mrs. Trump almost certainly has enough to worry about without being used as a prop to increase TV ratings.”
He concluded with a jab: “I am hopeful that Sean Hannity will learn from this too and continue his newly-found advocacy for women, immigrants and First Ladies and that he will triumph in his heroic battle against sexual harassment and perversion.”
Hannity tweeted shortly after that he would have “a full and comprehensive response” to Kimmel’s statement Monday evening on Hannity.