JIMMY Kimmel has sparked an eruption of fury on social media after branding Florida "America's North Korea".
The ABC late night host angered viewers by belittling the Sunshine State in a monologue while poking fun at Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Kimmel ripped into Florida for the announcement of its 2021 Python Challenge, in which people can win prizes for capturing invasive snakes in the Everglades.
"In America's North Korea, the Sunshine State, from time to time, we enjoy taking a look at what's going on, and tonight we are doing it again in a Gov. DeSantis edition of 'This Week in Florida,'" the comedian said.
Tropical music could then be heard as a fake postcard with the words "this week in Florida" flashed on the screen.
A clip of DeSantis introducing the competition then played, with him telling participants that those who remove the most pythons and who capture the longest ones will receive rewards.
It then cut back to a sniggering Kimmel, who jibed: "Unfortunately though all the prizes are pythons, so it's a pythonathon going on there in Florida."
While his taunts were met with some bouts of laughter from the audience, they caused a flurry of outrage online – with many leaping to Florida's defence.
Steven Law, CEO of One Nation and American Crossroads, commented: "How Hollywood political group-think produces hateful ignorance."
Conservative commentator Allie Beth Stuckey took umbrage at Kimmel likening Florida to North Korea, writing: "And that's why everyone's moving there?"
Another chimed in: "Imagine if I care about what this guy thinks about my state."
Bashing Kimmel for his remarks, a fourth added: "Fine role model to lecture the nation."
One Twitter user summed his monologue as "late night cringe".
Others pointed out that Florida is the "polar opposite" of North Korea – which is led by dictator Kim Jong-un – owing to the fact DeSantis has kept the state largely open throughout the pandemic.
The state's python challenge is set to begin at 8am on July 9, with a scheduled end date of July 18 at 5pm.
Cash prizes of up to $2,500can be bagged by participants.
"The Florida Everglades is an extraordinary ecosystem unlike any other in the world," the competition website reads.
"It is home to a variety of rare and unique wildlife including a diversity of native birds, mammals, fish and reptiles.
"However, some reptiles, like the invasive Burmese python, do not belong in this ecosystem and pose a threat to native wildlife.
"The Florida Python Challenge is an exciting conservation effort which helps protect the rare Everglades habitat and the animals that live there from these invasive, non-native snakes."
Kimmel's mocking of DeSantis comes as Donald Trump said he would consider the Florida Governor as his running mate in 2024 in a public snub to former Vice President Mike Pence.
Trump said on Monday that fellow Republican DeSantis is a "great guy" who he "would certainly consider" as his VP.
When asked on Fox Business if he would consider GOP-favorite DeSantis as his VP should he run again, Trump replied: "Sure I would."
Trump added: "I would certainly consider Ron. I was at the beginning of Ron.
"I was the first one to endorse him when he came out as a congressman that a lot of people didn’t know and my endorsement helped him tremendously and I know him very well. He’s a great guy.”
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