Nobel Peace Prize winner and education activist Malala Yousafzai made her Oscars debut at the 2023 awards show on Sunday night (March 12th). During the broadcast, the show's host Jimmy Kimmel talked to the 25-year-old human rights activist, who served as an executive producer for the nominated documentary short Stranger at the Gate, as she sat in the audience next to her husband, Asser Malik, and people on Twitter were not happy about the interaction.
During a bit where he asked guests questions sent in by viewers, Kimmel asked Malala a question from someone who wanted to know, "As the youngest Nobel Prize winner in history, I was wondering, do you think Harry Styles spit on Chris Pine?” After a short pause and laughs from the audience, Malala responded, "I only talk about peace."
Many viewers weren't fans of the playful interaction and immediately took to Twitter to share their opinions. "Malala has been such an iconic figure for activism for about a decade now and a literal nobel peace prize winner and u ask her about spitgate ?!," one fan wrote, with many others agreeing that moment was "cringe" and disrespectful to Malala. Another fan wrote, "I feel like a more respectful joke could have landed much better - and something maybe easier to respond to?"
People were also upset about what Kimmel said following Malala's response. "That's why you're Malala and nobody else is. That's a great answer, Malala," he said before riffing, "And the winner is Ma-Lala Land everybody," he said, referencing the 2016 film La La Land. "Did Jimmy Kimmel just make a racist joke about Malala’s name bro liberalism has not evolved one bit in a billion years," one fan shared.
Furthermore, the person wearing the Cocaine Bear suit after presenting with the film's director Elizabeth Banks went up to Malala in another bit shortly after. "Hearing the words “cocaine bear leave malala alone” has caused me psychic damage," one fan said. Malala's official Twitter account reacted to the moment shortly after it was shared online and responded with, "Treat people with kindness." Check out some of Twitter's reactions below: