Fellow NBC anchors Al Roker and Craig Melvin railed against Megyn Kelly for the “stupid” and “indefensible” blackface remarks she made during Tuesday’s “Megyn Kelly Today” show.
What did Roker and Melvin say?
During Wednesday’s “Today” show, Roker criticized Kelly for her remarks the previous day in which she said wearing blackface for Halloween was permissible when she was young.
Though Kelly issued an apology on Tuesday night, Roker suggested that Kelly should issue an even broader apology, specific to people of color.
“The fact is, while she apologized to the staff, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the country,” Roker said. “This is a history going back to the 1830s. Minstrel shows to demean and denigrate a race wasn’t right.”
“[Blackface is] magnifying the worst stereotypes about black people,” Roker added. “And that’s what the big problem is.”
Melvin went on to dispute call Kelly’s remarks “stupid” and “indefensible.”
“There was some criticism online yesterday that this was ‘political correctness run amok,'” Melvin said. “That’s silly. And it’s disingenuous, and it’s just as ignorant and racist as the statement itself. … She said something stupid, she said something indefensible.”
Megyn Kelly issued an apology in an email to colleagues for a controversial comment she made on her show Tuesday about blackface. pic.twitter.com/0MJUvA1tjZ
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) October 24, 2018
What did Kelly say during Wednesday’s show?
During her Wednesday show, Kelly offered up an extended apology, during which she appeared to become emotional and teary.
“I want to begin with two words,” Kelly admitted at the top of her show. “I’m sorry.”
“You may have heard that yesterday we had a discussion here about political correctness and Halloween costumes. And that conversation turned to whether it is ever OK for a person of one race to dress up as another, a black person making their face whiter or a white person making theirs darker, to make a costume complete,” Kelly explained. “I defended the idea, saying as long as it was respectful and part of a Halloween costume it seemed OK. Well, I was wrong and I am sorry.”
Kelly went on to explain her gratitude for being able to have an open discussion, and for being able to learn from those discussions.
“One of the great parts of getting to sit in this chair is getting to discuss points of view. Sometimes I talk and sometimes I listen,” she said. “Yesterday, I learned. I learned that the history of blackface is being used in awful ways by racists in this country. It is not OK for that to be part of any costume, Halloween or otherwise.”
She added, “I have never been a PC kind of person, but I do understand the value in being sensitive to our history, particularly on race and ethnicity. This past year has been so painful for many people of color. The country feels so divided. And I have no wish to add to that pain and offense. I believe this is a time for more understanding, more love, more sensitivity, and honor. And I want to be part of that. Thank you for listening and for helping me listen, too.”
“I want to begin with two words, I’m sorry..The country feels so divided and I have no wish to add to that pain and offense. I believe this is a time for more understanding, more love, more sensitivity and honor..Thank you for listening and for helping me listen too.” Megyn Kelly pic.twitter.com/6hHrvZLNvK
— Megyn Kelly TODAY (@MegynTODAY) October 24, 2018
What did Kelly say?
During a panel discussion Tuesday about whether whites dressing up as blacks was appropriate for Halloween, Kelly asked, “But what is racist? You truly do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface at Halloween or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween.”
“Back when I was a kid, that was OK,” she said.
After much backlash, Kelly issued an apology. She also apologized to her fellow “Today” show staff over the remarks.
“I am sorry,” she wrote in an email. “I’ve 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 past year.”
Megyn Kelly wonders what the big deal is about blackface pic.twitter.com/07yvYDuAYe
— Tommy Christopher (@tommyxtopher) October 23, 2018