Your exhaustive guide to the Sean Hannity and Jimmy Kimmel war

Ethan Alter
Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

[This story was originally published on April 6, and has been updated to reflect current developments. The original version appears below.]

UPDATE: We have officially achieved peace in our time between Sean Hannity and Jimmy Kimmel. On the April 9 episode of Hannity, the Fox News host responded to the Jimmy Kimmel Livestar’s offer of a truce in their bruising war of words that originally started on April 5. “I read the apology carefully,” Hannity said, making it clear he wasn’t about to forgive and forget so easily. “On the surface, I’ll be honest, it seems to be more of a forced Disney corporate apology…but I believe everyone should accept apologies. That’s how I was raised, that’s what my religion teaches me and I’m going to assume he’s sincere.” (Watch the clip below.)

Hannity also posted his response to Twitter earlier this morning, tagging the official Jimmy Kimmel Live! feed rather than Kimmel’s own account.

Kimmel’s silence since that Twitter post essentially leaves Hannity with the last word. But the host left an opening for Kimmel to continue their debate in a potentially more civil way, inviting him to be a guest on Hannity and promising that their conversation would contain “no name-calling, no anger, no rehashing of the Twitter fight.” Still, he couldn’t resist delivering one final shot before declaring a cease fire: “By the way Jimmy, if you do want to start up again, I promise I’ll punch back even harder.” Who knew diplomacy could be so painful?

APRIL 9 UPDATE: ABC’s late night superstar, Jimmy Kimmel, has officially sought to end his increasingly volatile war of words with Fox News host, Sean Hannity. On April 8, the Jimmy Kimmel Live! frontman posted a lengthy statement to Twitter making the case that the “level of vitriol” in their feud “does nothing good for anyone and, in fact, is harmful to our country.” He also apologized to those who took offense at the jokes about Melania Trump that initiated the verbal volleys, as well as the language of some of his subsequent Tweets. (Read the full statement below.)

Kimmel posted his statement one day removed from the Friday night episode of Hannity, on which the host devoted the first 20 minutes of the broadcast to a blistering broadside directed at his foe. (Fox News later axed the entire monologue from the show’s web version.) Both men stayed quiet on Saturday, with Kimmel only taking to Twitter to mention his enthusiasm for the latest episode of David Letterman’s Netflix talk show, and the John Krasinski horror hit, A Quiet Place. His Twitter truce was offered at 1:40 pm on Sunday, and Hannity offered a non-committal reply roughly 40 minutes later.

Since that Tweet, Hannity has refrained from posting anything Kimmel-related, making him–and us–wait until tonight’s Hannity to learn whether a lasting peace has finally been achieved. Otherwise, we’ll all be checking Twitter again at 10pm/ET.

ORIGINAL STORY: Once upon a time, the late-night wars only involved comedians like David Letterman and Jay Leno or Jay Leno and Arsenio Hall. But in the highly politicized atmosphere of 2018, a new front has opened up in this ongoing TV battle, one that pits a comic against a political commentator. For two evenings now, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel and Fox News’ Sean Hannity have been trading barbs on Twitter and through their respective nightly shows. Kimmel addressed the feud directly on Thursday night’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!: “I woke up this morning … and I opened up my computer and found out I’m at war with Sean Hannity and Fox News.” (Watch the clip above.)

So how did this war begin? Travel back with us to the evening of April 3, when Kimmel dedicated a portion of his monologue to the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, held at Donald and Melania Trump’s current residence on Easter Sunday.

During that bit, Kimmel joked that FLOTUS, who serves as the official host of the Egg Roll, didn’t do a heck of a lot to organize the event (preferring to work on her “escape tunnel” from the White House), and he also poked fun at her slightly stilted story-time session with the young attendees. That’s the joke that Fox & Friends strenuously objected to on Wednesday morning, a day removed from Kimmel’s original comments. Co-host Ainsley Earhardt and contributor Rachel Campos-Duffy — who noted that she’s the daughter of an immigrant — upbraided him for his remarks, with Campos-Duffy describing them as a “dagger to the heart.”


On Wednesday night, Hannity entered the arena to weigh in on the story for the first time. “Jimmy, you’re a despicable disgrace,” he opined, going on to label him an “ass clown.”

That brings us up to Thursday night and Kimmel’s retort, in which he questioned what exactly an “ass clown” is anyway. “Is it an ass that’s a clown or a clown that actually lives in an ass,” he wondered, going on to ask why Hannity is so interested in “clowns in the ass.” He also pondered why he’s the “despicable disgrace” when his Fox News attacker supported disgraced Alabama senatorial candidate Roy Moore. “If I’m an ass clown … you, Sean, are the whole ass circus.”

Expect this fight to continue late into Friday night, when both Hannity and Kimmel take to the airwaves again. In the meantime, Twitter is serving as another battleground. Hannity has spent the past few hours tweeting old video clips of racy Kimmel interviews from the now-defunct Comedy Central series The Man Show, making sure to tag ABC’s owners at the Walt Disney Company.

Kimmel responded directly to that latter tweet, setting off a whole new volley of shots fired.

Things quieted down for a little while after that exchange, but by the early afternoon, the combatants were at it again, with Hannity continuing to needle the foe he had dubbed, “Harvey Weinstein jr.”–a comparison that Kimmel understandably objected to.

After Hannity’s call for an apology, Kimmel opted to go on the offensive, referring back to another piece of old videotape: Donald Trump’s infamous “grab them by the pussy” remarks that were caught on mic during a 2005 Access Hollywood segment. Hannity seemed reluctant to answer the question, a lapse that Kimmel noted and hammered home.

With all eyes on these battling hosts, don’t be surprised if Hannity and Jimmy Kimmel Live! score record Friday numbers tonight. After all, war may be hell, but it’s great for ratings.

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