Sean Hannity Ends Grudge With Jimmy Kimmel, Grudgingly

Tough guys don't apologize, and if they must, they certainly don't do it on Fox News. It is no surprise, then, that Sean Hannity ended his days-long feud with ABC's Jimmy Kimmel by declaring, simply, "It's over." At least for now: Hannity promised that he was ready to fight again, should Kimmel ever traffic in the kind of ad hominem attacks for which the Fox News host apparently has no patience.

The spat began last Monday, when Kimmel made fun of First Lady Melania Trump's accent on his prime-time ABC program, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, after showing her reading to children during a White House celebration of Easter. Trump, who is originally from Slovenia, speaks English with a pronounced Central European accent.

Hannity, who frequently disparaged First Lady Michelle Obama while her husband was president, was incensed by Kimmel's dig at Melania Trump, calling him an "ass clown" and a "despicable disgrace" on Wednesday night.

Kimmel plainly welcomed this escalation. "What even is an ass clown?" he in turn wondered on Thursday evening. "I was thinking about it this morning, is it an ass that's a clown? Or is it a clown that actually lives in an ass?...More importantly, why is Sean Hannity openly fantasizing about clowns in the ass?"

Kimmel further offered that Hannity, who likes to project an old-fashioned machismo, "was unable to get an erection" during the eight years of the Obama presidency. "But now that Trump is president," Kimmel suggested, "Sean Hannity is unable to have anything but an erection. He's had an erection since November of 2016. And it's driving him mad. He's lost his mind."

This was not Kimmel's first time as a target of Fox News—and the conservative establishment. Last fall, he used the story of his infant son, who was born with a congenital heart defect, to passionately defend the Affordable Care Act, which the Republicans sought (unsuccessfully) to repeal. That has made him something of a bête noire to Trump's supporters, not to mention Trump himself. Earlier this year, Trump gleefully tweeted that the 90th Annual Academy Awards, which Kimmel hosted, were, as he put it, the "Lowest rated Oscars in HISTORY." Kimmel responded by calling him history's lowest-rated American president.

The fight with Hannity migrated to social media, too, with Hannity digging up old clips of Kimmel engaging in crude sexual humor on The Man Show, which Kimmell co-hosted from 1999 until 2003. Hannity used the clip to call Kimmel "Harvey Weinstein Jr.," a reference to the disgraced Miramax founder who assaulted and harassed multiple women during his time as a powerful Hollywood producer. It is unclear why Hannity made the connection, since no such allegations have been made against Kimmel.

Kimmel responded that Hannity has been losing in the ratings battle to his liberal nemesis, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. He also reminded Hannity that he'd been a supporter of Alabama senate candidate Roy S. Moore, who was accused my multiple women of sexual misbehavior. Some of that alleged activity took place when the women making those allegations were below the age of consent.

Kimmel also made a joke regarding sexual activity between Hannity and President Trump. Like a similar joke made last year by Stephen Colbert, it was deemed homophobic by some.

By Sunday night, Kimmel had plainly had enough, lamenting the "vitriol" into which his back-and-forth with Hannity had quickly devolved. While he did not apologize to Hannity, he did offer regret for the joke that started the entire episode: "Mrs. Trump almost certainly has enough to worry about without being used as a prop to increase TV ratings." He also apologized to "the gay community."

re. @seanhannity

— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) April 8, 2018

Hannity promised a response. That came on Monday night, near the end of the program, which otherwise featured Hannity's routine defenses of Trump, as well as attacks against the president's enemies, both real and perceived. "Kimmel Backs Down," said the graphic over Hannity's left shoulder as he recounted his feud with the "liberal" comedian.

Hannity called Kimmel's words from the previous day a "forced Disney corporate apology" while admitted that he does "enjoy a good fight." He then launched into a familiar diatribe about the "corrupt media-industrial complex" whose intention is to "literally hurt this president and bring his family down."

Returning to his recent sparring partner, Hannity invited Kimmel on his show. "I'll promise no name calling, no anger, no rehashing of the Twitter fight. You wanna have a serious discussion? We can talk about the president, policies, health care, comedy, political correctness," Hannity said.

He did warn, however, that if Kimmel wanted to go another round, "I promise that I'll punch back even harder," referencing more damaging clips of Kimmel that Hannity's producers had supposedly found over the weekend.

"They don't make you look too good," Hannity cautioned.