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Jamie Foxx defends Jimmy Fallon over blackface controversy

The 45-year-old talk show host apologised earlier this week after a 'Saturday Night Live' sketch from 2000, in which he did an impression of Chris Rock.

Host Jamie Foxx speaks onstage at the 2018 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on 24 June 2018 in Los Angeles. Picture: AFP.

LONDON - Jamie Foxx has defended Jimmy Fallon over his blackface controversy and urged people to "let this one go".

The 45-year-old talk show host apologised earlier this week after a Saturday Night Live sketch from 2000, in which he did an impression of Chris Rock, resurfaced, but the Ray actor insisted Fallon didn't do anything wrong and people should "let this one go" as there are more important issues to focus on.

In a comment shared to Instagram, Foxx wrote: "He was doing an impression of Chris Rock. It wasn't black face.

"We're comedians. I know it's a tough time right now. But this one is a stretch.

"On a show called In Living Color we played every race. Let this one go. We got bigger fish to fry... #changecourse (sic)"

Fallon - who was a regular fixture on the weekly entertainment show from 1998 until 2004 - branded the sketch "unquestionably offensive" when he apologised a few days ago.

He tweeted: "In 2000, while on SNL, I made a terrible decision to an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface. There is no excuse for this.

"I am very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive decision and thank all of you for holding me accountable."

In the controversial skit, Fallon - who was joined by Darrell Hammond playing Regis Philbin - stepped out in blackface as he made some jokes in the style of the comedian.

Social media users had demanded an apology from the Tonight Show star, and the clip - which doesn't appear on the SNL website or YouTube channels - was circulated on Twitter with the hashtag "#JImmyFallonIsOverParty".

Rock has yet to comment on the sketch or the backlash.