Jimmy Kimmel’s jokes about Aaron Rodgers’ anti-vax, ‘tin-foil’ theories started nasty feud

It’s easy to imagine that Aaron Rodgers has been looking for a way to stick it to Jimmy Kimmel after the many jokes the late-night host has made at the quarterback’s expense over the years.

But to Rodgers’ critics, the outspoken NFL star has only lived up to his reputation for making wild claims by suggesting that Kimmel’s name could be in documents that are expected to identify associates and clients of the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The documents were expected to be released this week, following a court order from a federal judge. In commenting on the documents, the New York Jets quarterback incited Kimmel’s wrath, with the “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” host threatening to take him to court.

Rodgers made the link during his most recent appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” Tuesday. Epstein, who died by suicide in August 2019, was known to be friendly with a number of high-profile figures — including with former Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, tech mogul Bill Gates and Britain’s Prince Andrew. Epstein and his ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell also were accused of trafficking teenaged girls to some of their rich friends. Maxwell was convicted of sex trafficking in December 2021 and is serving a 20-year prison sentence.

HOLLYWOOD, CA – MARCH 04: Host Jimmy Kimmel speaks onstage during the 90th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) 

“There’s a lot of people, including Jimmy Kimmel, really hoping that doesn’t come out,” Rodgers said to McAfee. “I’ll tell you what, if that lists comes out, I definitely will be popping some sort of bottle.”

Kimmel hit back at Rodgers pretty hard on social media Tuesday, calling him a vulgar name and stating: “For the record, I’ve not met, flown with, visited, or had any contact whatsoever with Epstein, nor will you find my name on any ‘list’ other than the clearly-phony nonsense that soft-brained wackos like yourself can’t seem to distinguish from reality. Your reckless words put my family in danger. Keep it up and we will debate the facts further in court.”

Rodgers has yet to respond to Kimmel’s statement, but McAfee addressed the controversy Wednesday, apologizing for his role in stoking the feud, TMZ reported. On his show, McAfee said he doubted that the four-time MVP was being serious when he appeared to insinuate that Kimmel had ties to Epstein. He said he thought Rodgers’ comment was just a “joke” but can see why Kimmel was angry about it. McAfee said he hoped the two celebrities could make amends and settle their feud.

“We apologize for being a part of it,” McAfee said. “I can’t wait to hear what Aaron has to say about it. Hopefully those two will just be able to settle this – not court-wise – but be able to chit chat and move along.”

Meanwhile, Kimmel’s X post received more than 180,000 likes by mid-Wednesday and was inundated with more than 48,000 comments. Many comments were supportive, including from TV personality Keith Olbermann, who said: “For God’s sake sue @AaronRodgers12. Do you need help? I’ll help.” Someone else took a swipe at Rodgers’ publicly difficult relationship with his family, including his Chico-based parents, by saying: “Ask Rodgers why his family wants nothing to do with him.”

Others came to Rodgers’ defense. One person suggested that Kimmel, whose “literal job” is “making fun of people” can’t seem to take a joke. Others pointed out that Kimmel deserves whatever Rodgers dishes out because he has made jokes and said “wild, obscene” things about the quarterback multiple times over the years, including over his opposition to taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

Indeed, the so-called feud between Kimmel and Rodgers goes back to November 2021, the New York Post reported. That’s when Kimmel cracked a series of jokes after the former Green Bay Packers star tested positive for the coronavirus, and it was learned he had not gotten the vaccine.

During the ensuing controversy, Rodgers’ earlier claim to reporters about being “immunized” was heavily scrutinized, with critics saying he misled the public into believing he was vaccinated when he was not. It also was reported that Rodgers used an alternative treatment instead of getting vaccinated, prompting Kimmel to rip him for that choice — and for his choice at the time to sweep his long hair up into a man-bun, the Post said.

“We should have known because nothing says ‘I heal myself with crystals like this haircut,’” Kimmel joked. “I mean, a little knot on top,” Kimmel said on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

“Aaron is a Karen, that’s the fact of the matter,” Kimmel continued.

Kimmel also zeroed in on Rodgers for saying he was “immunized.”

“The only thing worse than not getting vaccinated when you’re in close proximity with other people is letting them think you’re vaccinated when you’re not,” Kimmel said at the time. “It’s basically the COVID equivalent of the condom fell off.”

Several days later, Kimmel ripped into Rodgers for an appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show,” when Rodgers launched into an angry screed against “the woke crowd” to justify why he had not gotten the vaccine. During that appearance, Rodgers was accused of spreading common anti-vaccine disinformation, as he also said he had received advice from podcast host Joe Rogan about using Ivermectin to treat his COVID infection.

“This was a dumb conversation,” Kimmel said of Rodgers’ conversation with McAfee and co-host A.J. Hawk, the Post reported. “But you’ll never guess who this whack-packer has been getting his medical advice from.”

Kimmel also took issue with Rodgers quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. about having a moral responsibility to object to unjust laws, the Post reported.

“You didn’t object. You pretended you were vaccinated and snuck around,” Kimmel said. “Always a good move for a White millionaire to half-quote Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., by the way.”