Megyn Kelly out at NBC after blackface comments: report

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Megyn Kelly out at NBC after blackface comments: report
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Megyn Kelly is out at NBC.

Less than 48 hours after the "Megyn Kelly Today" host defended blackface on Tuesday's episode of her show, Kelly has been fired from the network, Page Six reports.

The news comes as the network was airing reruns of her hour of "Today" on Thursday and Friday.

"Megyn Kelly is done," an NBC executive told the Daily Mail. "She is not ever coming back. We are just working out timing of the announcement but mark my word -- she is gone and will never be seen on NBC live again."

The source said that the main point of contention comes from her reported $20 million a year contract.

"Here's the worst part -- her deal is a non-break deal -- so she walks away with all that money," the source explained. "It's disgusting and heads should roll here because of it."

The Hollywood Reporter reports that Kelly's newly-hired lawyer, Bryan Freedman, has a meeting set with NBC News executives on Friday, where they'll officially discuss how to handle her exit from the network. CNN added that she could potentially still cover the midterm elections for NBC in two weeks, as previously scheduled.

On Tuesday, Megyn Kelly hosted a segment called "Halloween costume crackdown: University targets 'inappropriate & offensive' costumes," during which she and three others discussed what constitutes a controversial costume in 2018, and the conversation turned to blackface.

"What is racist?" Kelly said. "You do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface for Halloween, or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. Back when I was a kid, that was okay just as long as you were dressing as a character."

She then brought up a recent example of a celebrity receiving backlash, which she characterized as unwarranted, after darkening her skin for a costume.

"There was a controversy on 'The Real Housewives of New York' with Luann, as she dressed as Diana Ross and she made her skin look darker than it really is," Kelly said on Tuesday. "People said that that was racist! And I don't know, like, I thought, like, 'Who doesn't love Diana Ross?' She wants to look like Diana Ross for one day. I don't know how that got racist on Halloween. It's not like she's walking around [wearing blackface] in general."

The backlash to her comments was swift, with many online calling her out for being tone-deaf and uninformed, while others called back to her 2013 statement that "Santa is white" when reacting to black men dressing up as Santa Claus in malls across the country.

Later on Tuesday, Kelly penned an email to her "friends and teammates" at NBC apologizing for her remarks.

"One of the wonderful things about my job is that I get the chance to express and hear a lot of opinions," Kelly began her email. "Today is one of those days where listening carefully to other points of view, including from friends and colleagues, is leading me to rethink my own views."

"I realize now that such behavior is indeed wrong,” she said of wearing blackface. "I am sorry."

Hours after she sent the email, "NBC Nightly News" aired a segment examining the statements that she made on-air and her subsequent apology. On Wednesday morning, her fellow "Today" show co-hosts also discussed her comments, with Al Roker and Craig Melvin fully condemning her stance on blackface.

"The fact is, while she apologized to the staff, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the country," Roker said. "No good comes from it."

"She’s a friend. She said something stupid," Melvin added. "She said something indefensible."

An hour later, Kelly opened her 9 a.m. hour of "Today" by apologizing once again for her comments, this time seemingly while holding back tears.

"I want to begin with two words: I'm sorry," she said. "You may have heard that yesterday we had a discussion here about political correctness and Halloween costumes, and that conversation turned to whether it is ever okay for a person of one race to dress-up as another -- a black person making their face lighter, or a white person making their's darker -- to make a costume complete."

"I defended the idea, saying as long as it's respectful and part of a Halloween costume, it seemed okay," she went on. "Well, I was wrong, and I am sorry."

This wasn't the first controversy of Kelly's since she joined NBC last year. In fact, her short history with the network has been fraught, starting with low-rated turn on "Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly," for which she nabbed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the series premiere and controversially interviewed Alex Jones, who would later release recordings from their interview that painted Kelly in a bad light.

Last fall, in the first few weeks of "Megyn Kelly Today," which NBC made room for by canceling Al Roker and Tamron Hall's hour of the "Today" show, Kelly had a series of on-air blunders when interviewing the likes of Jane Fonda and the cast of "Will & Grace."

NBC has yet to confirm her exit.