Sheryl Lee Ralph Addresses Jimmy Kimmel Emmys Bit: ‘The Disrespect!’

“Abbott Elementary” star Sheryl Lee Ralph was not pleased with Jimmy Kimmel’s bit during Quinta Brunson’s Emmys acceptance speech — and she made it known to him.

“I was absolutely confused. I didn’t know what was going on. But I was like, ‘I wish that man would just get up off the ground!’” the newly minted Emmy winner said during a Television Critics Association panel on Wednesday. “And then I realized it was Jimmy Kimmel. And then I was like: ‘Ooh, the disrespect, Jimmy!’ … But that’s just me.”

At Monday night’s Emmy Awards, Brunson — the creator, showrunner and star of “Abbott Elementary” — won for her writing on the hit ABC sitcom. During her acceptance speech, Kimmel, who presented the award, laid down on stage next to her as part of a bit with co-presenter Will Arnett.

Many watching at home felt the late night host’s stunt was disrespectful to Brunson and distracted from her historic win. When the nominations were announced in July, Brunson made history as the first Black woman to be nominated in three different comedy categories in the same year. She is now only the second Black woman to win the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, following “Master of None” writer and star Lena Waithe in 2017.

Ralph said she told Kimmel directly that she did not appreciate his bit. “I told him, too, to his face,” she said. “I did! And he understood.”

Sheryl Lee Ralph won the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series award for "Abbott Elementary" at the 2022 Emmy Awards.
Sheryl Lee Ralph won the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series award for “Abbott Elementary” at the 2022 Emmy Awards.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Brunson, who is set to appear on Kimmel’s show Wednesday night, understandably seemed more than ready to move on from the incident and focus on her show’s upcoming second season.

“I’m anticipating that we are going to have a good old fashioned time,” she said Wednesday when asked about Kimmel. “I have talked with Jimmy since and I think no matter what, it’s important to just showcase that ‘Abbott Elementary’ is premiering next week, so that, I will be doing. I think it’s gonna be a good time and you’ll probably just have to tune in and watch.”

Quinta Brunson (left) and Jimmy Kimmel.
Quinta Brunson (left) and Jimmy Kimmel.

Michael Buckner via Getty Images

At a party following Monday night’s ceremony, Brunson poked fun at the incident by posing with Kimmel for a photo — obscuring his face with her Emmy award.