Fox News Channel host Megyn Kelly returned to her show Friday night and refused to apologize for earlier comments in which she insisted that both Santa Claus and Jesus Christ are white men .
“Apparently we ignited quite a controversy the other night,” Kelly said near the top of her show. The host did not appear on her program , “The Kelly File,” Thursday night due to a cold.
“Humor is a part of what we try to bring to this show but sometimes that is lost on the humorless,” Kelly said, attempting to turn the tables on her critics, who have accused Kelly of being everything from insensitive to an outright racist.
Kelly then played an extensive clip showing critics and comic tearing apart her comments, including reactions from CNN’s Don Lemon, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes and late night host Jimmy Kimmel.
“This would be funny if it were not so telling about our society,” Kelly continued, accusing her critics of possessing a “kneejerk reaction to race bait.” “This wasn’t motivated by any racial fear.”
Kelly says she invited Slate writer Aisha Harris onto her program Friday night. Harris’ article “ Santa Claus should not be a white man anymore ,” sparked Kelly’s comments and the ensuing response.
However, Kelly said Slate denied her request to have Aisha appear on her show. “Apparently that website would rather sling those arrows from their offices,” Kelly said.
Harris did appear on MSNBC’s “All in with Chris Hayes” program on Thursday night.
For her part, Kelly did invite two African American critics on her show Friday night to address the controversy.
“The insistence that he must be white. That was the thing that turned people off,” political analyst Zerlina Maxwell told Kelly. ““Kids should be able to use their imagination when talking about fictional characters.”
Nonetheless, Kelly insisted that her description of Santa as a white man was accurate, citing films such as 1947’s “Miracle on 34th Street,” and the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.
“I was simply arguing that the image is of a white Santa. She [Aisha Haris] and I were on the same page,” Kelly said. “I think some people who like to hate on Fox News and me projected some unfortunate motives. Fox News and yours truly are big targets for many people.”
However, Kelly was willing to give ground on one point, her second assertion that the historical figure of Jesus was a white man.
“As I’ve learned in the past two days, that is far from settled,” Kelly acknowledged.