Jimmy Kimmel threatens to sue Aaron Rodgers over Epstein remark — but their rift goes back years

Jimmy Kimmel threatens to sue Aaron Rodgers over Epstein remark — but their rift goes back years
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Jimmy Kimmel threatens to sue Aaron Rodgers over Epstein remark — but their rift goes back years

Aaron Rodgers and Jimmy Kimmel's rift is nothing new — it just took a serious and very public turn this week.

Feud Origins

The Rodgers-Kimmel rift began over two years ago when the NFL quarterback became a target for the late-night host's monologues on Jimmy Kimmel Live! The recent controversy erupted when Kimmel took offense at Rodgers' comments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

November 2021

Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 3 and was ultimately fined for violating the NFL's COVID protocols. Although the Super Bowl-winning quarterback told reporters at the start of the season he was immunized, Rodgers never actually was. Thus, he broke multiple protocols as he didn't operate like an unvaccinated player, which included daily testing and wearing a mask at all times while inside. Although Rodgers only had to sit out one game while he tested positive, the athlete faced harsher punishment in the court of public opinion. Kimmel was one of his notable detractors.

Monologue Critique

During a monologue one day after news broke of Rodgers's omission, Kimmel took a dig at the future Hall of Famer doing a "homeopathic treatment" instead of getting the vaccine.

Homeopathic Jokes

"We should have known because nothing says 'I heal myself with crystals' like this haircut," Kimmel joked. "Aaron is a Karen, that's the fact of the matter."

COVID Equivalent

Kimmel added, "The only thing worse than not getting vaccinated when you're in close proximity with other people is letting them think you're vaccinated when you're not. It's basically the COVID equivalent of the condom fell off."

Rodgers' Response

Rodgers broke his silence about the situation on his friend Pat McAfee's show and called out the "woke mob."

Vaccine Controversy

"If the vaccine is so great, then how come people are still getting COVID and spreading COVID and unfortunately dying of COVID?" the quarterback asked. That really got Kimmel going the following week.

Parachutes Analogy

"Right, right, and if parachutes are so great, how come 11 people died skydiving last year?" Kimmel quipped during another scathing opening monologue. "The fact of the matter is the risk of dying from COVID is 11 times higher if you aren't vaccinated. This is a dumb conversation, but you'll never guess who this wack Packer has been getting his medical advice from."

Joe Rogan's Advice

For what it's worth, Rodgers said he consulted popular podcaster Joe Rogan, who was blasted for spreading misinformation about the virus after testing positive.

Kyrie Irving Comparison

"How does someone who almost hosted Jeopardy! come up with 40 incorrect responses in a row?" Kimmel added. He also said it's "not fair" Rodgers be compared to basketball star Kyrie Irving, who also faced criticism for his stance on vaccines.

February 2023

During his regular appearance on The Pat McAfee show, Rodgers implied the government was trying to distract the public from the potential release of Epstein's infamous "list."

Epstein's List

"There's a lot of old papers and files and different things about interactions that Navy pilots have had ... with unidentified flying objects, so this is not surprising," Rodgers said. "Obviously, there was some sort of Chinese spy balloon that was up in the air, allegedly, and there's been a few other objects that have been shot down. I believe that this has been going on for a long time. Interesting timing on everything. There's a lot of other things going on in the world.”

Maxwell's Conviction

Rodgers added, "Did you hear about the Epstein client list about to be released, too? ... There's some files that have some names on it that might be getting released pretty soon. ... [Ghislaine] Maxwell was the only person ever convicted of trafficking, and nobody who was involved in the trafficking ever went to jail, so nothing to see here."

March 2023

Kimmel caught wind of the comments a few weeks later. He slammed "Green Bay wack Packer Aaron Rodgers," whom he called a "tin foil hatter" over the remarks. "It might be time to revisit that concussion protocol, Aaron," swiped the Emmy-winning host.

Bakhtiari's Insinuation

Rodgers's close friend and former teammate, David Bakhtiari, fired back at Kimmel — and insinuated the late-night host is on the Epstein's "list."

Jan. 2, 2024

While talking to McAfee, who moved his show to ESPN, Rodgers took his public dig at Kimmel.

Epstein List Revelation

Rodgers discussed the "Epstein list" as court records one day before the records were set to be unsealed. (The documents are not a "client list" or names only comprised of co-conspirators, despite rampant social media speculation.) "There's a lot of people, including Jimmy Kimmel, really hoping that doesn't come out," Rodgers said, adding, "If that lists comes out, I definitely will be popping some sort of bottle."

Kimmel's Legal Threat

Kimmel responded hours later and threatened legal action. "I've not met, flown with, visited, or had any contact whatsoever with Epstein," he wrote on X, formerly Twitter. "Your reckless words put my family in danger. Keep it up and we will debate the facts further in court."

Jan. 3, 2024

McAfee issued an apology as the appearance likely put him in a tricky situation. (ESPN and ABC, the network that airs Jimmy Kimmel Live!, are both owned by Disney.)

Apology and Resolution

"I can see exactly why Jimmy Kimmel felt the way he felt, especially with his position. But I think Aaron was just trying to talk shit. But did it go too far? Jimmy Kimmel certainly said that was the case," McAfee said on his show. "We obviously don't like the fact that we're associated with anything negative ever. We like our show to be an uplifting one, a happy one, a fun one. But it's because we talk shit and try to make light of everything. Some things obviously people get very pissed off about, especially when they're that serious allegations, so we apologize for being a part of it."

Document Release

The unsealed documents were released on Wednesday night and Kimmel's name is not in them.

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