Jimmy Kimmel apologizes on Monday for his skit on China and America's debt problem.

Story highlights

Kimmel: "There seems to be a lot of people upset with me"

He asked a panel of children how they would resolve the U.S. debt to China

Child panelist: "Shoot cannons all the way over and kill everyone in China"

Groups protested, started petition drive against the ABC show

Los Angeles CNN  — 

Late night TV host Jimmy Kimmel apologized for airing a clip of a child suggesting that “killing everyone in China” could be a solution to America’s debt problem.

“You know, today is a weird day,” Kimmel said on Monday’s show. “There seems to be a lot of people upset with me, more upset than usual.”

Chinese-American groups organized several protests and a petition drive after the October 16 broadcast of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

The offending remark came while Kimmel was talking to a group of children, ages 5 and 6, about the United States government’s debt, much of which is held by China.

“America owes China a lot of money, $1.3 trillion,” Kimmel told the children. “How should we pay them back?”

“Shoot cannons all the way over and kill everyone in China,” one boy said.

“Kill everyone in China? OK, that’s an interesting idea,” Kimmel said.

He then posed the question: “Should we allow the Chinese to live?”

While one boy said, “No,” most of the children said, “Yes.”

“If we don’t allow them to live, then they’ll try to kill us,” a girl said.

“Well, this has been an interesting edition of Kid’s Table – The Lord of the Flies edition,” Kimmel said as the segment ended.

ABC published an apology Friday, saying the network “would never purposefully broadcast anything to upset the Chinese community, Asian community, anyone of Chinese descent or any community at large.”

The letter from ABC executives addressed to the 80-20 National Asian American Political Action Committee promised “swift action to minimize the distribution of the skit by removing it from all platforms and editing it out of any future airings of the show.”

“I thought it was obvious that I didn’t agree with that statement, but apparently it wasn’t,” Kimmel said Monday. “So I just want to say I am sorry. I apologize. It was certainly not my intent to upset anyone.”

He ended his apology by saying, “I’m here to turn frowns upside down.”