White House: No, we can't take Jimmy Kimmel off the air

Jimmy Kimmel arrives at the 4th Annual Variety's Power of Comedy Event, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013 in Los Angeles.

WASHINGTON ó The White House has responded to a petition calling for an apology and the removal of Jimmy Kimmelís television show by saying the comedian canít be forced off the air.

More than 105,000 people signed the petition on the White House website. It followed an October broadcast of ABCís ďJimmy Kimmel LiveĒ featuring a segment in which Kimmel spoke to young children about U.S. government debt owed to China.

One boy said ďkill everyone in ChinaĒ when Kimmel asked how the U.S. should repay the Asian power.

In its response, the White House noted that ABC and Kimmel have apologized, and that the network has removed the segment from future broadcasts and its online platforms.

The White House also noted that the Constitution protects free speech, even when itís offensive.