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A Twitter fight between Jimmy Kimmel and Sean Hannity sparked a few crass gay sex jokes from the former, which were called out as homophobic.
The feud began last week, when the Jimmy Kimmel Live host poked fun at Melania Trump's accent, after the First Lady gave a book reading to children at the White House Easter Egg Roll.
In response, the Fox News host called Kimmel "Mr Weinstein jr." and a "disgusting pervert" -- references to his role as the onetime host of Comedy Central's problematic The Man Show -- as well as an "ass clown." To which Kimmel responded, "If I'm an ass clown... you are the whole ass circus."
The back-and-forth devolved from there. On Friday, Kimmel tweeted to Hannity, "Don't worry -- just keep tweeting -- you'll get back on top! (or does Trump prefer you on bottom?) Either way, keep your chin up big fella..XO." He added, "When your clown makeup rubs off on Trump's ass, does it make his butt look like a Creamsicle?"
\u201cDon't worry - just keep tweeting - you'll get back on top! (or does Trump prefer you on bottom?) Either way, keep your chin up big fella..XO https://t.co/R4QJCoGYCL\u201d— Jimmy Kimmel (@Jimmy Kimmel) 1523050013
After Kimmel's remarks were called out as homophobic on Twitter -- from conservatives, too! -- the comedian posted a statement Sunday to Twitter, declaring that he did not "intend to belittle or upset members of the gay community."
"While I admit I did have fun with our back and forth, after some thought, I realize 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," Kimmel wrote.
"Even in 2018, the vile attacks against my wife and wishes for death on my infant son are shocking and I encourage those who made them to give their words and actions thought. I, too, will give my words more thought and recognize my role in inciting their hatefulness."
Somehow, Kimmel was not the only comedian who came under fire for gay jokes last weekend. On Friday, Chelsea Handler tweeted, "Jeff Sessions is definitely a bottom." When accused of bottom-shaming, Handler replied, "I'm a bottom and proud of it."
Daily Beast writer Ira Madison III slammed this trend of liberal comedians resorting to "cheap jokes" at the expense of gay people.
"Why do 'progressive' comedians so readily jump to homophobic jokes when it comes to mocking conservatives?" Madison asked. "Either insinuating that they like receiving anal sex via bottoming -- or any other homosexual sex act -- is the surefire way to knock someone down a peg. Because insisting that they're gay must be the ultimate insult, right?"
And Kimmel and Handler are far from being outliers in using gay jokes to express liberal outrage at a conservative administration. During a 2017 episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the host, critiquing Donald Trump's cozy relationship with the Russian president, said, "The only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin's cock holster." After a backlash, Colbert also apologized for insulting gay people.
"While I would do it again, I would change a few words that were cruder than they needed to be," he said. "I'm not going to repeat the phrase. But I just want to say, for the record, life is short, and anyone who expresses their love in their own way is to me an American hero. I think we can all agree on that."