Late Night

Jimmy Kimmel near tears over death of Cecil the Lion: 'This is terrible’

Jimmy Kimmel couldn't hold back his emotions when addressing news of the lion that was slain for sport by a Minneapolis, Minnesota dentist during a hunting trip in Zimbabwe.

The late-night host slammed Dr. Walter J. Palmer for killing 12-year-old Cecil the Lion, a favorite at Hwange National Park and a tourist draw that was also being tracked for scientific research by Oxford University.

Kimmel admitted that when he first heard of the story, he was "so relieved" to hear that the animal was hunted and killed by a Spaniard. "I was like, 'This is terrible but thank God this isn't one of us,'" he quipped.

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Unfortunately, that was not the case. "Turns out, it was an American," Kimmel said. "It was one of us. It was a dentist from Minnesota who paid $50,000 to shoot the lion."

The host did read a statement from Dr. Palmer -- who has reportedly closed his dentist office since the story became national news -- who said he thought this was a legal hunt and had no idea the animal was being tracked.

"I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion," Palmer said. 

After reading the doctor's defense, Kimmel really laid into him. "Why are you shooting a lion in the first place?" he said. "I'm honestly curious about why a human being would be compelled to do that. How is that fun?"

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Clearly upset about the death of Cecil, Kimmel continued, "Is it that difficult for you to get an erection that you need to kill things? If that's the case, they have a pill for that. It works great."

Kimmel then compared the doctor to the controversy surrounding Bill Cosby. "Just stay home and swallow it and you save yourself a lifetime of being the most hated man in America who never advertised Jell-O pudding on television," he joked.

The 47-year-old comedian then encouraged his viewers to support the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, the organization that was responsible for tracking Cecil as well as other animals.

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Kimmel isn't the only star up in arms over the killing of the beloved lion.



"How dare you #walterpalmer!!!!" Victoria's Secret model Candice Swanepoel Instagrammed. "As a South African and as a human being I can't express how deeply saddened I am by this."