Jimmy Kimmel got a lot of attention this week for a segment in which six anti-immigrant hardliners came face to face with a young undocumented mother holding her toddler.
The segment was supposed to change the hearts and minds of people who oppose letting DACA recipients stay in the United States. But there’s just one problem: at least two of the anti-immigrant people Kimmel gave a national spotlight to are members of known hate groups.
Kimmel’s guests were not identified by name in the segment, but immigrant rights advocates know their faces, and many of them helpfully tweeted about their participation.
They included Arthur Christopher Schaper, a man who wore a “Make America Great Again” hat to the taping. In the segment, he boasted about telling an undocumented college student, “You are here illegally. This is not your country.”
Schaper has been involved with multiple extreme right-wing groups, including MassResistance, an anti-LGBTQ organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled a hate group. We know this because the Los Angeles Times ran a story on Schaper in June of last year. Anyone Googling “Arthur Christopher Schaper” can find the Times article on the first page of search results.
In a blog post, Schaper wrote that this was actually the second time ABC had tried to get him on Kimmel’s show; the first, he claimed, was in 2016. He listed some of the other participants in the segment. One of them was Robin Hvidston. She is also well-known to immigrant rights leaders in the Southern California area as the executive director of We the People Rising, a far right anti-immigrant group that emerged after the Minutemen movement was enveloped in financial and molestation scandals. Hvidston served as the national rally coordinator for the Minuteman Project, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Immigrant rights leaders in the Southern California region known as the Inland Empire said they were shocked to see the extremists on TV.
“Robin and Arthur are familiar faces that show up at every immigrant rights protest and vigil,” Javier Hernandez, director of the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice, told Splinter.
Towards the end of the eight-minute segment, Kimmel knows he’s losing the battle and physically pulls a woman to his side of the couch to show viewers he was able to win one person to the other side of the fence.
“We made almost no progress,” Kimmel said in the segment. And then it went out on TV.
We reached out to representatives from both ABC and Jimmy Kimmel Live! for comment and more details on the vetting process for potential guests. No one got back to us.