LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – As the U.S. presidential election draws near, television’s stars didn’t hold back on their opinions at Sunday’s Emmy awards, some taking jabs at Republican nominee Donald Trump while others voiced support for Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton.
During his opening monologue, Emmy host Jimmy Kimmel called out producer Mark Burnett, the producer of reality series “The Apprentice” and “Celebrity Apprentice” which Donald Trump hosted, saying “who is to blame for the Trump phenomenon? That guy.”
“If Donald Trump gets elected and he builds that wall, the first person we are throwing over it is Mark Burnett,” Kimmel said, setting the political tone of the show 50 days before America elects its next president.
Burnett, who later accepted the best reality series Emmy for “The Voice,” joked on stage that he had just received a call from Clinton criticizing Kimmel for giving Trump “free publicity on ABC.”
“I’m sure Donald was thrilled with him, I’m sure he’s emailing Jimmy right now saying thanks for the free media,” Burnett told reporters backstage.
Trump, known for his rapid-fire responses on Twitter, had nothing to say about the Emmys on Sunday night.
After winning best comedy actress for a fifth consecutive time for HBO’s “Veep,” Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who plays flawed U.S. president Selina Meyer on the show, said “I want to personally apologise for the current political climate.”
“I think that ‘Veep’ has torn down the wall between comedy and politics; our show started out as a political satire but it now feels like a sobering documentary,” she said on stage.
“Master of None” star Aziz Ansari, who penned an essay in June for the New York Times entitled “Why Trump Makes Me Scared for My Family,” quipped on stage, “I’ve decided I’m going with Trump.”
“I’m recommending that we get rid of all Muslim and Mexican people from the ceremony. This would be so much easier at the Oscars,” the Muslim Indian-American actor joked, hinting at the controversy over the lack of diversity at film’s Oscar awards.
“Mum, dad, you need to be escorted out immediately,” he added.
Backstage, “Transparent” creator Jill Soloway, who won best directing for a comedy series, criticized Trump for “other-izing people.”
“He blames Muslims and Mexicans for problems … This is other-izing with a capital O. He needs to be called out every chance we get for being one of most dangerous monsters to ever approach our lifetimes,” Soloway said.
“Saturday Night Live” star Kate McKinnon won best supporting comedy actress and thanked Clinton, one of the people she plays on the NBC sketch series, and got a loud cheer from the crowd.
In response, Clinton tweeted “Congratulations on your Emmy, Kate! Big fan of yours, too,” with a photo of McKinnon in character as Clinton.
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Mary Milliken)