Jimmy Kimmel, late-night host on Late Night, joked about Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia (R-Ga.), in his opening monologue this week. He did so after she called some members of her party “propedophiles” for backing Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Kimmel asked, “Where’s Will Smith when you need him?” Kimmel asked, a reference to Smith’s Oscar show storming of the stage and slap of comedian Chris Rock over a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith….
[Greene’s]Nick Dyer, a spokesman for Congresswoman Greene said that Friday’s “threats to Congresswoman Greene invoke Jimmy Kimmel were coming into our offices.”
Dyer also pointed out that Greene’s tweet on Thursday featured a voicemail from Dyer she claims she received following Kimmel’s monologue. One male caller claimed that she would spend a fortune to watch Jimmy Kimmel beat your (expletive). Head in with a bat.” It would be (expletive).
But of course Kimmel’s line is a joke, and even if serious is a statement of opinion—that Greene deserves to be slapped—and not a true threat that he or someone in league with him would slap her. For more information on the First Amendment’s “true threat exception”, see Watts v. U.S. (1969).) Kimmel’s alleged inciting of threats by third parties cannot be blamed. There is no reason to believe that Kimmel intended or expected to create imminent dangers to violence. Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969)).
It may be sensible for a Representative sometimes to report things to police that aren’t criminals but could be helpful for future reference (e.g. “This strange guy from my District has been sending me weird e-mails. Nothing to do right now but if any mailroom receives packages from him, they might need an additional check.” However, that does not sound to correspond with Rep. Greene’s tweet.