Jimmy Kimmel apologizes if he 'hurt or offended' anyone with blackface skits, offensive language

LOS ANGELES -- ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel offered up a belated apology Tuesday, June 23 after Fox News revealed the late-night host had repeatedly used the "N-word" while impersonating Snoop Dogg in a song spoof in the 1990s. Kimmel had already come under fire for using blackface in several skits earlier in his career.

“I have long been reluctant to address this, as I knew doing so would be celebrated as a victory by those who equate apologies with weakness and cheer for leaders who use prejudice to divide us. That delay was a mistake. There is nothing more important to me than your respect, and I apologize to those who were genuinely hurt or offended by the makeup I wore or the words I spoke,” Kimmel told Fox News in a statement on Tuesday.

“Looking back, many of these sketches are embarrassing, and it is frustrating that these thoughtless moments have become a weapon used by some to diminish my criticisms of social and other injustices,” he added.

Kimmel said that he has changed over the years and “anyone who watches” his show can vouch that he’s evolved.

“I know that this will not be the last I hear of this and that it will be used again to try to quiet me. I love this country too much to allow that,” Kimmel’s statement added. “I won’t be bullied into silence by those who feign outrage to advance their oppressive and genuinely racist agendas. "Thank you for giving me an opportunity to explain and to those I’ve disappointed, I am sorry."

Kimmel abruptly announced Thursday, June 18 he's taking the summer off to spend more time with his family. He has been tapped to host the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards. To conclude the statement, he said that his upcoming vacation was preplanned and he will be back to work in September.

For updates, check out FOXNews.com.