Megyn Kelly is apologizing to colleagues after saying she doesn’t understand what makes the use of blackface offensive.
On “Megyn Kelly Today”, the controversial TV personality held a roundtable discussion on offensive Halloween costumes, questioning whether a white person who puts on blackface – or a black person putting on whiteface – is truly racist.
“But what is racist?” Kelly asks. “Because you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface on Halloween, or a black person that puts on whiteface for Halloween. And back when I was a kid, that was OK, as long as you were dressing up as, like, a character.”
On Tuesday, NBC News released a video revealing how Kelly has made other racist remarks in the past. Kelly once disputed the idea that a white Santa Claus is racist. “Yet another person claiming it’s racist to have a white Santa,” Kelly said. “By the way for all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white… Jesus was a white man too.”
Following the segment, Kelly reportedly sent an internal memo apologizing for her remarks after hearing colleagues and friends call her out.
“One of the wonderful things about my job is that I get the chance to express and hear a lot of opinions. Today is one of those days where listening carefully to other points of view, including from friends and colleagues, is leading me to rethink my own views,” the memo reads, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “I realize now that such behaviour is indeed wrong, and I am sorry. The history of blackface in our culture is abhorrent; the wounds too deep.”
She concludes the email with, “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. This is a time for more understanding, love, sensitivity and honour, and I want to be part of that. I look forward to continuing that discussion.”
On the show, Kelly pointed to “Real Housewives Of New York” star Luann de Lesseps’ Diana Ross costume in which she appears to have darkened her skin to dress up as the diva. De Lesseps later denied using blackface and apologized for the look.
“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,” Kelly adds.
Kelly’s guests, Melissa Rivers, Jenna Bush Hager and Jacob Soboroff disagree with her.
“I haven’t seen it, but it sounds pretty racist to me,” Soboroff says of de Lesseps costume. “Me too,” Hager chimes in.
But Kelly was adamant, suggesting people are too easily offended.
“I can’t keep up with the number of people we’re offending just by being normal people these days,” she says.
“If you think it’s offensive, it probably is,” Rivers responds.
Twitter users including Padma Lakshmi and Patton Oswalt were quick to tell Kelly just how wrong she is.