Cable TV host Megyn Kelly is under fire for claiming on-air this week that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white. And now the controversy has even led to an attack by “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart.
“For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white,” she said, later noting the same of Jesus’ pigmentation. “Jesus was a white man, too. It’s like we have, he’s a historical figure that’s a verifiable fact, as is Santa, I just want kids to know that.”
There has been no shortage of critique and controversy following her characterizations of the revered figures, with Stewart, among others, lambasting Kelly and calling her contentions factually inaccurate.
“Little surprised to see Megyn Kelly going full Christmas nog,” Stewart said on his show Thursday night.
He added, “And who are you actually talking to? Children who are sophisticated enough to be watching a news channel at 10 o’clock at night, yet innocent enough to still believe Santa Claus is real — yet racist enough to be freaked out if he isn’t white?”
To give more context, the debate started on Kelly’s show Wednesday when she brought up a recent Slate article titled, “Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore,” and assured children watching that Santa is white.
“For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white, but this person is just arguing that maybe we should also have a black Santa,” she said of the article’s author, who argued for a more inclusive revision of the traditional Santa Claus image. “But Santa is what he is … we’re just debating this, because someone wrote about it, kids.”
Kelly’s attempt here was likely rooted in trying to assure any kid viewers that Santa exists, however the claim about his race is what sparked attention from Stewart and other critics.
Watch the first part of Stewart’s segment below (Kelly critique begins around the 3:00 mark):
Stewart also showed a picture of what Santa possibly looked like and noted that the historical St. Nikolaos resided in what is now Turkey and likely had a darker complexion.
“Actual St. Nikolaos … my guess is there’d be no Christmas if he looked like that dude (in the picture), because he’s probably still on the no fly list,” he said.
As for Kelly’s claim that Jesus, too, was white, Stewart rhetorically asked, “You do know Jesus wasn’t born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, right?”
Watch the rest of the comedian’s critique here:
Other critics waged similar critiques. Religion reporter Jonathan Merritt wrote in The Atlantic that Kelly is “wrong on both the facts and the essential universality of the Christian message.”
“Setting aside the ridiculousness of creating rigidly racial depictions of a fictitious character that does not actually exist—sorry, kids—like Santa, Kelly has made a more serious error about Jesus,” he wrote. “The scholarly consensus is actually that Jesus was, like most first-century Jews, probably a dark-skinned man. If he were taking the red-eye flight from San Francisco to New York today, Jesus might be profiled for additional security screening by TSA.”
What do you think about the debate? Let us know below.
Featured image via Comedy Central