Jimmy Kimmel didn’t tell Malal Yousafzai she was going to be in Oscars skit – despite warning other A-listers in advance of gags
Jimmy Kimmel didn’t tell Malala Yousafzai in advance he was going to get her involved in his controversial Oscars sketch – even though other celebs were told ahead of time they were going to be mentioned in another skit.
The 55-year-old talk show host has been lambasted for “harassing” the Taliban shooting survivor-turned Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist during one of his gags during Sunday’s (12.03.23) Academy Awards, which saw him ask the 25-year-old her about Harry Styles’ so-called “spit-gate” video.
Jimmy’s wife Molly McNearney, 45, who executive produced the Oscars show, revealed to Variety Jimmy had informed other stars – including Steven Spielberg – they were going to part of a separate sketch.
During his opening monologue Jimmy said he had recruited an A-list “security team” to shield him from a Will Smith-style stage attack at this year’s Oscars.
Molly said Michael B Jordan, Pedro Pascal, Michelle Yeoh, Steven Spielberg and Andrew Garfield were all informed shortly before the joke was made they would be singled out as part of the gag – which saw the stars pulling faces on camera as they were named by the host.
But she admitted 25-year-old Malala was not told she was later going to be approached by Jimmy in what has been branded a “bizarre” segment of the Oscars.
Molly insisted Malala saw the funny side of the skit, and said the peace campaigner asked at an after party her if her response to Jimmy’s jokes had been “okay”.
The Oscars producer added: “Malala was an excellent sport. We ran into her at the Vanity Fair party. She couldn’t have been nicer, more gracious. She was worried – ‘I hope my answer was okay?’
“Well, we thought her answer was amazing.”
Malala was a teenage education activist when she was shot in the face by Taliban terrorists in Pakistan in 2012, and was left squirming when Jimmy approached her during his Oscars sketch that saw him ask guests bogus questions “sent in” by viewers.
Malala was in the audience as she was an executive producer of the Best Documentary Short-nominated film ‘Stranger at the Gate’, about an Afghan refugee named Bibi Bahrami and the members of her Indiana mosque who come face to face with Richard ‘Mac’ McKinney, a US Marine who had secret plans to bomb their community centre.
Referring to the viral video from the Venice Film Festival last year that appeared to show Harry Styles, 29, spit on his ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ co-star Chris Pine, 42, during a screening of the film, Jimmy told Malala about a “query” from a viewer named “Joanne”: “She asked, your work on human rights and education for women and children is an inspiration. As the youngest Nobel prize winner in history, do you think Harry Styles spit on Chris Pine?”
Malala awkwardly replied: “I only talk about peace.”
Jimmy responded: “You know what, that’s why you’re Malala and nobody else is. That’s a great answer, Malala. The winner is Malala-land, everybody.”
In the hours after the ceremony, the activist took to Twitter as Jimmy was being bombarded with abuse over the sketch, and said alongside a video of the exchange: “Treat people with kindness.”