A black journalist group accused NBC of "whitewashing" its "Today Show" cast after Tamron Hall, the only black female anchor on the three-hour daily program, left the network Tuesday for good.
The National Association of Black Journalists released a statement Wednesday calling Hall's departure "saddening."
"She broke ground as the first black female 'Today Show' cohost and was enjoying ratings success alongside Al Roker during the show's third hour of programming," the statement read. "This achievement deserves praise, not punishment, as replacing talent often is associated with low ratings performance."
The statement was referring to NBC announcing Wednesday that it would cancel Hall's role in the third hour of "Today" and give the slot to former Fox News host Megyn Kelly, CNN reported. Roker will stay with NBC, but only in his capacity as a co-host during the first two hours.
Hall had been with NBC and MSNBC since 2007 and has co-hosted the third hour of the "Today Show" with Al Roker since 2014, according to Deadline Hollywood. Roker will host the third hour of "Today" until Kelly makes her official NBC debut later this year.
"Tamron is an exceptional journalist, we valued and enjoyed her work at 'Today' and MSNBC and hoped that she would decide to stay. We are disappointed that she has chosen to leave, but we wish her all the best," NBC said in a statement released Wednesday.
Hall's last day at NBC was Tuesday. It is unclear whether she has another TV job lined up.
The now-former NBC host said in a statement: "The last ten years have been beyond anything I could have imagined, and I'm grateful. I'm also very excited about the next chapter. To all my great colleagues, I will miss you and I will be rooting for you."
Just one day after Hall's final NBC appearance as a host, the NABJ released a statement, blasting NBC and accusing it of "whitewashing."
"NBC has been a leader for diversity in broadcasting, but recent reports that Hall and Roker will be replaced by former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly are being seen by industry professionals as whitewashing," the statement read.
Beginning this fall, Kelly will take to the NBC airwaves as a daytime talkshow host, Sunday night news show anchor and special political programming co-anchor. Kelly's new role at NBC will begin just months after leaving Fox News, where she worked for more than a decade.
In 2014, NBC named Lester Holt as the permanent anchor of "Nightly News," making him the first black solo anchor of any evening news program on network television, according to CNN. Holt replaced former "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams, who was demoted after exaggerating a number of personal experiences, calling into question his credibility as a journalist.