The 89th Academy Awards were off to a great start on Sunday night when Mahershala Ali nabbed the first Oscar of the night for Best Supporting Actor in “Moonlight.”
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) February 27, 2017
“Lastly, I just want to thank my wife, who was in her third trimester during award season,” he said. “We just had our daughter four days ago… So I just want to thank [my wife] for just being such a soldier through this process and for carrying me through it all.”
Unfortunately, in response, host Jimmy Kimmel took the following moment to make a tasteless joke about Ali’s name, noting that it must have been difficult to choose a moniker for his daughter since his name is Mahershala.
“You can’t name her Amy,” Kimmel joked.
On Twitter, viewers were not having it and quickly called out the Oscars host for his poor joke.
You receive the greatest honor of your career and immediately after a white man reminds you that you are different. What fuckery.
— roxane gay (@rgay) February 27, 2017
Can Jimmy Kimmel *not* make jokes about Mahershala's name? Jesus Christ. Come on. It's 2017. #Oscars
— PAPER Magazine (@papermagazine) February 27, 2017
oh that is a cool racist joke about Mahershala Ali's name. Fun fun way to shit on one of the best moments of his life. #Oscars
— Angie Manfredi (@misskubelik) February 27, 2017
— Samuel Black (@potter_black) February 27, 2017
— Pepper Potts (@blackJaneAusten) February 27, 2017
“You can’t name your kid Doug,” Kimmel said.
In response, Ali sidestepped the remark by explaining that he and his wife were going to “keep [the name] unique, but do something a little more simpler.”
Similarly, at the awards show, Ali brushed off the joke with a smirk.
— Rachel (@soozeecute) February 27, 2017
At one point during the show, Kimmel inexplicably asked the audience to say Mahershala's name in unison.
This isn’t the first time an actor’s name has been made fun of at an award’s show. At the 2015 Emmys, presenter Jamie Lee Curtis joked about not being able to pronounce “Orange is the New Black” star Uzo Aduba’s name. Luckily, Aduba also paid no mind to it. After all, she was too busy winning an award.