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Megyn Kelly apologizes for defending blackface

Suzy Byrne
·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
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Megyn Kelly upset many people on Tuesday with comments about blackface.

While discussing offensive Halloween costumes on Megyn Kelly Today with an all-white panel including Melissa Rivers and Jenna Bush Hager, the NBC host defended white people painting their skin black if it’s part of a costume because it was OK to do so when she was a child some 40 years ago. However, several hours later, Kelly apologized to her colleagues at NBC for her comments via an internal email, according to multiple news outlets including CNN. In it, she said that after the show aired, she realized from feedback from “friends and colleagues” that blackface is “indeed wrong” and said, “I am sorry.”

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During the segment, Kelly said, “What is racist? You get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface on Halloween or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. Like — when I was a kid that was OK as long as you were a character.”

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Rivers tried to explain that “if you think your costume is offensive, it probably is” and “normal people kinda know where that line is,” while Bush Hager chimed in, “There are limits to how far you want to go.” However, Kelly didn’t think that donning blackface crossed that line.

“There was a controversy on the Real Housewives of New York with Luann [de Lesseps] when she dressed as Diana Ross and she made her skin look darker than it really is and people said that was racist. I felt 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 like that in general.”

NBC News correspondent Jacob Soboroff replied, “I haven’t seen it, but it sounds racist to me.”

Kelly ended with, “I don’t know. I can’t keep up with the number of people we’re offending just by being normal people.”

Twitter seemed a little exhausted with Kelly, who has offended before with racial comments including her insistence that Santa Claus is white. Here are some of the comments from people, including Top Chef‘s Padma Lakshmi and Patton Oswalt.

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Further, it was also pointed out — over and over — that there were no black panelists at the table for the conversation.

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After her comments caused a backlash online, multiple reports stated that she apologized to unspecified NBC staffers in an internal email. In the email, Kelly said that feedback from “friends and colleagues” led her to “rethink my own views.” She wrote, “I realize now that such behavior is indeed wrong, and I am sorry. The history of blackface in our culture is abhorrent; the wounds too deep.”

Kelly ended by saying she’s “never been a ‘pc’ kind of person — but I understand that we do need to be more sensitive in this day and age. Particularly on race and ethnicity issues which, far from being healed, have been exacerbated in our politics over the last year. This is a time for more understanding, love, sensitivity, and honor and I want to be part of that. I look forward to continuing the discussion.”

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