Oscars 2023: Malala delivers flawless comeback to Jimmy Kimmel’s tone-deaf gag about ‘spitgate’
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai is being hailed an “icon” for her classy response after Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel asked her a tone-deaf Harry Styles question at the 95th Academy Awards.
Malala, dressed in a head-to-toe sparkling, silver Ralph Lauren gown, was at the Oscars as an executive producer for film Stranger at the Gate, which was nominated in the Best Documentary Short Film category.
Approaching the education activist during a break, Kimmel thanked her for being there, before pretending to present a question from ‘Joanne,’ a viewer at home.
“She asks: you work on human rights and education for women and children is an inspiration,” Kimmel began.
“As the youngest Nobel prize winner in history, I was wondering, do you think Harry Styles spit on Chris Pine?”
While the gag earned a handful of awkward laughs from the audience, a visibly uncomfortable Malala took a moment to collect herself before delivering a pristine comeback.
“I only talk about peace,” she said, to a round of applause.
Logging into Twitter during the ad break, Malala then shared a video of the interaction, captioned with one of Harry Styles’ own songs.
“Treat people with kindness,” she wrote, alongside the peace emoji.
Her eloquent handling of the encounter has already earned her an abundance of praise online.
Responding to her tweet, one fan wrote: “The queen has spoken. We love you Malala. Dignity and grace personified!”
“She had to shut it down. She said I’m a Nobel Peace Prize winner, don’t ever forget that,” another wrote.
In general, people were highly impressed with Kimmel using the Nobel prize winner for a cheap gag.
“You have one chance to ask a Nobel Peace Prize winner a question, and that’s where you go? I get keeping it fun, but just ask her which movie/actor/actress she’s hoping will win,” wrote one person.
Another said: “Thank you, Malala, for that graceful response to one of the worst comedy routines in Oscar history. American comedy, with a few exceptions, is really not very good these days. Kimmel is usually an exception; hoping he didn’t write that.”
“This was so awkward, my god Malala deserves better,” a third concluded.
As well as working on Stranger at the Gate, Malala executively produced the Oscar-considered Joyland, a groundbreaking trans love story that, while lauded by fans, was banned in Malala’s home country of Pakistan.
The ban was overturned, but remains in place in Punjab where the film is set, and Malala has spoken in defence of the “spectacular” film.
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