In a change of pace for “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” the host’s monologue tackled the violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend and called for white people to address racism.
“Even though The Tonight Show isn’t a political show, it is my responsibility to stand up against intolerance and extremism as a human being,” Fallon began. “What happened over the weekend in Charlottesville, Va., was just disgusting. I was watching the news like everyone else, and you’re seeing Nazi flags and torches and white supremacists, and I was sick to my stomach.”
The comedian reflected on his two young daughters and appeared visibly choked up describing how he could tell the girls about the news.
“I’m thinking, ‘How can I explain to them that there’s so much hatred in this world?’ They’re 2 years old and 4 years old,” Fallon says. “They don’t know what hate is. They go to the playground and they have friends of all races and backgrounds, and they just play and they laugh and they have fun. But as kids grow up, they need people to look up to, to show them what’s right and good. They need parents and teachers, and they need leaders who appeal to the best in us.”
In a move that was a complete 180 from the hair ruffle Fallon gave then-Republican presidential candidate Trump in 2016, the “Saturday Night Live” alumnus condemned Trump for taking too long to speak out about the violence that occurred. During a counter-protest to the white supremacist rally, a man rammed his car into the crowd and killed a 32-year-old woman and injured at least 19 others.
“The fact that it took the president two days to come out and clearly denounce racists and white supremacists is shameful,” Fallon said. “And I think he finally spoke out because people everywhere stood up and said something. It’s important for everyone — especially white people — in this country to speak out against this. Ignoring it is just as bad as supporting it.”
Despite Fallon’s positive message, several people were quick to remind the star that this was the same Trump he played nice with almost a year ago.
Jimmy Fallon failed to take a stand when it mattered. Trump was the same POS he is now that he was when Fallon joked w/him on his show.
— Kenyotta (@vweli40) August 15, 2017
— Sean McDonald (@mcdonald1914) August 15, 2017
Birtherism was pure HATE & RACISM and when Jimmy Fallon tussled Trump's hair, Trump had already led the racist Birther movement for 5 years.
— Bill Madden (@maddenifico) August 15, 2017
Still, the talk show host had some in his corner.
— ً (@anisalrh) August 15, 2017
— Lynnette (@mslmwhite) August 15, 2017
— Brian Joyce (@the_brianjoyce) August 15, 2017