(NEXSTAR) — Jimmy Kimmel has apologized to “Abbott Elementary” creator and star Quinta Brunson following criticism of a comedy bit he staged during her acceptance speech at the Emmy Awards earlier this week.
Kimmel’s show, “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” had been nominated for Outstanding Variety Talk Series at the ceremony, but it lost to HBO’s “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” earlier in the evening.
Kimmel and actor Will Arnett later took the stage to present the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, with Arnett literally dragging Kimmel’s body over to their mark. Arnett explained that Kimmel, after having lost, had gotten drunk on “skinny margaritas” and passed out.
When Arnett announced Brunson as the winner, she took the stage with Kimmel’s motionless body next to the microphone.
“Jimmy, wake up. I won,” said Brunson, prompting laughter from the audience. She went on to deliver a heartfelt speech with Kimmel still on the ground beside her.
A number of viewers have since accused Kimmel of stealing Brunson’s spotlight, with one calling it a “dumb unfunny bit” that took away from her moment.
“Super disrespectful and inappropriate and completely on the nose for the antics Black women have to put up with,” the viewer wrote on YouTube.
“Abbott Elementary” actor Sherly Lee Ralph, who won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress, also said at a press engagement for the Television Critics Association that she was initially taken aback by Kimmel’s “disrespect.”
“I told him, too! To his face! And he understood,” said Ralph, as reported by Variety.
During Wednesday’s taping of “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Kimmel apologized to Brunson, but not before she interrupted his monologue for a pre-planned bit.
“You know how when you win an Emmy, you only have 45 seconds to do an acceptance speech, which is not that much time?” she asked Kimmel while holding her Emmy. “And then … you get less time because someone does a dumb comedy bit that goes on too long?”
“You know, I have heard of that happening,” Kimmel responded.
Brunson followed up by jokingly demanding to finish her speech in front of Kimmel’s audience.
Later in the night, Kimmel formally apologized to Brunson.
“People got upset. They said I stole your moment. And maybe I did, and I’m very sorry if I did do that. I’m sorry I did do that, actually. And also, the last thing I would ever want to do is upset you, because I think so much of you,” Kimmel said. “And I think you know that. I hope you know that.”
Brunson told Kimmel she wasn’t personally upset by his actions at the Emmys, as she was “wrapped up in the moment.”
“Thank you,” she said. “That’s kind. But honestly, I had a good night.”