White House: Government can't force Kimmel off air

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by Associated Press

Associated Press

Posted on January 12, 2014 at 11:06 AM

Updated Sunday, Jan 12 at 1:06 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House has responded to a petition calling for an apology and the removal of Jimmy Kimmel's television show by saying the comedian can't be forced off the air.

More than 105,000 people signed the petition on the White House website. It followed an October broadcast of ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" featuring a segment in which Kimmel spoke to young children about U.S. government debt owed to China.

One boy said "kill everyone in China" when Kimmel asked how the U.S. should repay China.

In its response, the White House noted that ABC and Kimmel have apologized, and that the network has removed the segment from future broadcasts and its online platforms.

The White House also noted that the Constitution protects free speech, even when it's offensive.

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