[January 11, 2014]WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The White
House has weighed in on a petition calling for the government to crack
down on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," a television talk show that sparked a furor
in China in October with a joke about killing Chinese people to avoid
paying down U.S. debt to the country.
More than 105,000 people signed on to a White House petition
calling for an apology after the show, broadcast on ABC, included a
segment where Kimmel asked a group of children how the United States
should pay back the $1.3 trillion it owes to China, the world's
A 6-year-old said, "Kill everyone in China." Kimmel replied: "That's
an interesting idea."
Afterwards, Chinese-American groups protested outside the California
headquarters of ABC, which is owned by Walt Disney Co, and the
Chinese Foreign Ministry complained. ABC and Kimmel apologized for
The White House, which accepts petitions and responds to the most
popular ones, noted that ABC and Kimmel have "already apologized
independently" and said that the comments "do not reflect mainstream
views of China in the United States."
"As the president has stated publicly, the United States welcomes
the continuing peaceful rise of China," the White House said in its
official response to the petition. (Link to petition:
However, the White House also noted that the U.S. Constitution
protects free speech and that the federal government cannot force
ABC to "cut the show" as the petition had requested.