Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers made headlines this week after suggesting on “The Pat McAfee Show” that late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein had incriminating information on popular late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel. The comments prompted an intense backlash from Kimmel and raised questions about the nature of Rodgers’ relationship with Disney-owned ESPN.
Rodgers Makes Explosive Accusation Against Kimmel
During Tuesday’s edition of “The Pat McAfee Show,” Rodgers made an eye-opening accusation against Kimmel, suggesting the talk show host was on Epstein’s alleged list of celebrity clients who utilized his sex trafficking ring:
“I mean, this guy was best friends with the most prolific pedophile that we know of in Hollywood in Jeffrey Epstein. Then they’re brothers-in-law somehow and then as the story goes, the list came out there. Jimmy Kimmel was on that list. And I haven’t heard about him since.” [source]
Rodgers provided no evidence to support his extraordinary claim. He appeared to be referencing conspiracy theories that emerged several years ago falsely alleging Kimmel was named in court documents related to Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. Those rumors have been repeatedly debunked.
The quarterback’s comments created an immediate firestorm online and in the media. Later on Tuesday, McAfee apologized on behalf of himself and Rodgers over the remarks. [source]
Kimmel Threatens Legal Action Over “Reckless” Claims
Kimmel wasted no time responding to Rodgers’ allegations, firing back at the NFL star in a statement on Tuesday evening and threatening to take legal action:
“I could sue you Aaron, but it’s more fun just to read your desperate tweets. It’s almost like comedy. I think you need to up the dosage on your alpha brain pills or whatever quack supplement business you’re into now.” [source]
Kimmel slammed Rodgers over the “reckless” and unfounded claims, denying any connection to Epstein and making light of the quarterback’s background in alternative medicine and wellness products.
The ABC late night personality also mocked Rodgers on his show on Wednesday evening, comparing the NFL star to a “drunk uncle” spouting conspiracy theories at Thanksgiving. [source]
Kimmel’s fiery response signals this feud may continue to escalate in the coming days. While Rodgers has not directly responded to Kimmel’s threats, McAfee reiterated his apology on Wednesday, acknowledging Rodgers “may have taken a shot at Kimmel he shouldn’t have.” [source]
Fallout Raises Questions About Rodgers’ ESPN Future
Beyond an ugly public spat between two major celebrities, Rodgers’ comments have created headaches for ESPN and raised fresh questions about the controversial quarterback’s future at the network.
Rodgers currently has a very lucrative contract with ESPN to appear weekly on McAfee’s show. However, Disney is also closely affiliated with Kimmel, whose late night show airs on the company’s ABC network.
|Connection to Rodgers
|Connection to Kimmel
|Appears on “The Pat McAfee Show” via lucrative contract
|None (beyond same parent company as Kimmel’s network ABC)
|Parent company of ESPN
|Parent company of ABC, which airs “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
|Airs Kimmel’s late night talk show
This web of relationships puts Disney and ESPN in a difficult position. The company has faced external and likely internal pressure this week to reprimand Rodgers over the damaging comments about Kimmel. [source]
At the same time, Rodgers has become a highly popular staple and ratings draw on McAfee’s ESPN show. Disciplining him over the remarks could negatively impact that valuable programming.
For now, it appears Rodgers will face little punishment from the network, though some media critics have argued ESPN’s lack of action enables the quarterback. [source]
Looking ahead, Kimmel has already said he will refuse to appear on McAfee’s ESPN show again following Rodgers’ comments. [source] That furthers tensions between Rodgers and the company.
At minimum, this ugly feud has brought unwanted attention to ESPN’s unusual partnership with Rodgers. It remains to be seen whether this incident will impact that relationship moving forward.
What’s Next in This Nasty Feud?
In the wake of Kimmel’s fiery response and threats of legal action, all eyes remain fixed on Rodgers to see if and how he addresses this situation next.
While McAfee has apologized multiple times this week, Rodgers himself has not commented further or walked back his assertions about Kimmel. If the quarterback continues doubling down on the unfounded Epstein claims, it would almost certainly set the stage for an even bigger fight.
Kimmel seems unlikely to let this feud fade quietly based on his aggressive statements already. He could potentially follow through with lawsuits against Rodgers centered on defamation claims. Even if no actual suit materializes, Kimmel will probably continue using his late night platform to skewer the quarterback.
This ugly saga has also prompted wider conversations about Rodgers himself and his pattern of stirring controversies. Between provocative COVID-19 commentary, family estrangements, breakups, and now these damaging Kimmel allegations, Rodgers continues courting criticism for his public statements and actions off the field. [source]
For the principals involved, reputations seem destined to take further hits before all is resolved. And the companies connected to this mess also face lingering questions about how to handle their relationships with two massive yet unpredictable stars.
To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.