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.”
Here's the email Megyn Kelly sent to colleagues today apologizing for her comments on blackface Halloween costumes pic.twitter.com/cOVW1QWJB6
— Tom Kludt (@TomKludt) October 23, 2018
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.”
Megyn Kelly wonders what the big deal is about blackface pic.twitter.com/07yvYDuAYe
— Tommy Christopher (@tommyxtopher) October 23, 2018
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.
Dear @megynkelly — you and I are approximately the same age. Blackface was NOT okay when we were kids. Take it from a big-hearted boy who just wanted to show his love for Nipsey Russell on the worst Halloween of my life. https://t.co/pnsk0WmuTw
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) October 23, 2018
I cannot believe the ignorance on this in 2018. You are on national television. You have a responsibility to educate yourself on social issues @megynkelly. This is so damaging. https://t.co/R7UJzkDDG9 https://t.co/7qFkqGHfGJ
— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) October 23, 2018
Ohhhhhhhhhhh!!!! So Halloween is like a "bye week' for racism…. Like a one day Purge for blackface…..GOT IT! https://t.co/0ZPBGHJ6U0
— Roy Wood Jr- Ex Jedi (@roywoodjr) October 23, 2018
Blackface 👏🏿is👏🏿racism👏🏿end👏🏿of👏🏿story👏🏿. Black👏🏿people👏🏿aren’t👏🏿caricatures.
— sibongile nkosana (@sbngle) October 23, 2018
On top of everything else that is batshit insane about this clip, Megyn Kelly, apparently, thinks blackface and "whiteface" (I swear, she says this is something black people do and white people get offended by) are equally common and equally offensive. https://t.co/NJVlocibL3
— Adam Davidson (@adamdavidson) October 23, 2018
Why do we always have to explain why it is a big deal? Open a history book. Everything that has made America is built on the brutalization and dehumanization of black bodies. It's not that hard of a concept to grasp. We live it everyday.
— 20Something & Living (@20SNL_) October 23, 2018
Sounds about white
— 💀The Legend of Sleepy Mikey💀 (@Mike_77Martinez) October 23, 2018
Megyn Kelly: Blackface is ok.
Megyn Kelly: Black Santa is not ok.
Megyn Kelly: My brain is made of wet flour. https://t.co/EGRJawsrxv
— Seasonal Mancino-Williams (@Manda_like_wine) October 23, 2018
Santa Truther says what?
— Irie DC (@irieDC) October 23, 2018
Megyn Kelly got on Fox News to demand Santa be a white man and is now saying she doesn’t understand the big deal about blackface. The racism is absurd.
— Kimberly Nicole Foster (@KimberlyNFoster) October 23, 2018
The only time Megyn Kelly would have a problem with blackface is if the person is also dressed as Santa Claus https://t.co/LfObbMDVfU
— Patrick Monahan (@pattymo) October 23, 2018
You can take the girl out of Fox News, but you can't take the Fox News out of the girl.
— Ali (@phosphor112) October 23, 2018
— Bestcare OB/GYN (@BestcareOBGYN) October 23, 2018
I thought this might have been an exaggeration, but no, Megyn Kelly is really doing a “I don’t see what’s so offensive about blackface” https://t.co/xtECr43UMg
— jamelle g-g-ghoulie 👻 (@jbouie) October 23, 2018
Look, this is so basic even Melissa Rivers has it right.
— Heather on the Hill (@jitterbug212) October 23, 2018
Further, it was also pointed out — over and over — that there were no black panelists at the table for the conversation.
If you type into google:
"Show me a video of three women who truly don't understand and are willingly ignorant to widespread racism, and a man who does understand and is baffled by the women's unawareness"…this is the video that is top of the list.
— Gˢᵘᵖˡᵉˣ (@GodSuplex) October 23, 2018
This all-white panel surely is equipped to tackle the issue of “how is this considered racist?” in a deep and thoughtful manner
— 𝖂𝖎𝖑𝖑 𝕲𝖆𝖑𝖕𝖊𝖗𝖎𝖓 (@WillGalperin) October 23, 2018
Why no black people on the show to help her understand…never mind…
— Terry C (@milaughclass) October 23, 2018
And, yet again we have white people discussing why blackface is offensive with no black people on panel to explain why white people JUST SHOULDN'T DO IT!
— MickeyD (@Mickey_D66) October 23, 2018
With narry an informed Black person at the table.
— Ms. Carrie (@CtheInquisitive) October 23, 2018
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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