When Jimmy Kimmel goes high, Sean Hannity somehow goes even lower.
“That’s it for us tonight, Jimmy Kimmel is in for Sean,” Tucker Carlson joked as he tossed from his show to Hannity’s just before the 9 p.m. hour Monday night. Naturally, Hannity waited until the final moments of the show to address his somehow still-ongoing fight with the late-night host.
Hannity’s comments came after the late-night host attempted to end their feud over the weekend, releasing a statement on Twitter that aimed to tamp down the tension:
“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.”
Kimmel also addressed the criticism that his jokes at Hannity’s expense during a recent monologue had been “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,” he said.
As for the jokes that supposedly upset Hannity in the first place, Kimmel added, “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.”
Instead of offering his own contrition for equating Kimmel with alleged serial rapist Harvey Weinstein, Hannity continued to criticize the comedian even as he accepted his apology.
With a graphic that read “Kimmel Backs Down” beside him, Hannity said to him that the statement sounded like “more of a forced Disney corporate apology directed more towards the LGBTQ community rather than about Kimmel’s comments about the first lady.”
Hannity said that he was accepting Kimmel’s apology and as much as he “really does enjoy a good fight,” agreed with his rival that it was “time to move on.”
From there, Hannity pivoted to say that his outrage was about more than Jimmy Kimmel and attempted to make a larger argument about the “corrupt media-industrial complex” that is “wholly an extension of the Democratic Party.”
But at no point did Hannity take any shred of responsibility for repeatedly labeling Kimmel “Harvey Weinstein Jr.” on Twitter over the course of several days, using as evidence some 20-year-old sketches from The Man Show that even Kimmel would admit were misogynist. But as Kimmel also stressed during his back and forth with Hannity on Twitter, they were “televised comedy bits in which every woman was a willing participant who gladly signed a release.”
Hannity ended his rant by inviting Kimmel to come on his Fox News show for a debate on the issues he cares about, like health care. “I promise no name calling, no anger, no rehashing of the Twitter fight,” he said.
But in the next breath, he was issuing a threat.
“Jimmy, if you do want to start up again, I promise I will punch back even harder,” Hannity said. “And my producer spent all weekend compiling a lot of your highlights, or lowlights, in your career. They don’t make you look too good. Instead of airing them, we will put them in storage and we have more important pressing issues like what’s happening in Syria and gassing of women and children.”