Jimmy Fallon addresses the events in Charlottesville (Youtube/The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon)

Jimmy Fallon finally gets off the fence, blasts Trump over Charlottesville

The "Tonight Show" host split from his apolitical stance, to deliver a heartfelt address about Charlottesville


Rachel Leah
August 15, 2017 3:36PM (UTC)

Jimmy Fallon opened the "Tonight Show" on a different note Monday night, calling the violence in Charlottesville "disgusting" and President Donald Trump's late condemnation "shameful."

"Even though the 'Tonight Show' isn't a political show," Fallon began, "it's my responsibility to stand up against intolerance and extremism as a human being."

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In the two-minute address, Fallon said, that while watching the news and seeing the "Nazi flags, and torches and white supremacists, I was sick to my stomach." He admitted that he struggled with what he would tell his young daughters, who at two and four, had no grasp of the hate that inspired the white supremacist rallies and violence in Virginia.

Fallon then spoke frankly when it came to Trump. "The fact that it took the President two days to come out and clearly denounce racists and white supremacists is shameful. And I think he finally spoke out because people everywhere stood up and said something," he said.

His comments were a clear departure from his usual apolitical stance and even past friendliness with the commander in chief. In September 2016, Fallon hosted Trump on the "Tonight Show" where he playfully ruffled his hair. The interaction was seen as a normalization of Trump and his dangerous campaign rhetoric that was already rooted in hate and discrimination, and had been endorsed by white supremacists and former KKK members.

While Fallon has made fun of the president since his inauguration, the jokes have not been in the vein of the sharp criticism seen on Stephen Colbert's "The Late Show," Seth Meyers' "Late Night" or Trevor Noah's "The Daily Show."

In a follow-up to his remarks on Trump Monday night, Fallon spoke of the importance of "white people in this country to speak out against this," he said of the Charlottesville events. "Ignoring it is just as bad as supporting it."

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Fallon closed his monologue by acknowledging 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was killed after a car rammed into a crowd of anti-facist and Black Lives Matter protesters. "We all need to stand against what is wrong, acknowledge that racism exists," Fallon said, "and stand up for what is right, civil and kind."


Rachel Leah

Rachel Leah is a culture writer for Salon. You can follow her on Twitter: @rachelkleah.

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