August 15, 2017
Jimmy Fallon opened Monday's episode of "The Tonight Show" with a powerful and emotionally charged message following white supremacy rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left three dead and dozens injured over the weekend.
Fallon, who was widely criticized late last year for giving a "softball" interview with then presidential candidate Donald Trump during a heated campaign season, said that while the show isn't "political," addressing the events was his "responsibility to stand up against intolerance and extremism as a human being."
"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," Fallon said on "The Tonight Show."
Fallon said that he's struggling to find a way to talk to his daughters, who are 2 and 4 years old, about all the "hatred in the world" in the two-minute-long statement.
"They don’t know what hate is," he said. "They go to the playground and they have friends of all races and backgrounds. 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."
The late-night host also called Trump's delay in denouncing the acts "shameful" and suggested that he made the statement only following mounting pressure from many across the nation.
Fallon brought up Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman who was killed after a car drove into a crowd of activists protesting the city's "Unite the Right" rally, organized in opposition to the removal of a statue of Confederate leader Robert E. Lee.
He called her "brave" and listed her as an example of a person who gave their life "to make sure this kind of hate doesn't spread."
"I can’t look at my beautiful, growing, curious daughters and say nothing when this kind of thing is happening. We all need to stand against what is wrong, acknowledge that racism exists and stand up for what is right, and civil, and kind. And to show the next generation that we haven’t forgotten how hard people have fought for human rights. We cannot do this. We can’t go backward. We can’t go backward."
Watch Fallon's heartfelt message below: