Megyn Kelly, who once famously raised a fuss over Black Santa, is currently facing a backlash for wondering aloud “what is racist” about people dressing in blackface for Halloween costumes. Her Tuesday remarks have caused such a ruckus, in fact, that her own network — and even her own show — won’t bypass the firestorm. Kelly did issue an apology to her NBC colleagues via an internal email, but on TODAY, her remarks took central stage in a lengthy segment, which heats up at around 3:15 in the above clip.
Correspondent Morgan Radford began the discussion while describing this as a “learning moment” for Kelly, who now realizes that her comments were wrong. Anchor Savannah Guthrie also chimed in, calling the situation “uncomfortable, obviously,” since Kelly is a colleague, but a disappointed Al Roker revealed a more forthright reaction. He believes that Kelly should have not only apologized to her coworkers but should do so on a much larger scale:
“The fact is, while she apologized to the staff, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color round the country. This is a history going back to the 1830s minstrel shows to demean and denigrate a race. It wasn’t right. I’m old enough to know have lived through Amos ‘n’ Andy, where you had white people in blackface playing two black characters, just magnifying the worst stereotypes about black men — and that’s what the problem is. That’s what the issue is.”
Craig Melvin picked up the discussion from there, addressing the social media comments that complained about political correctness as being “as ignorant and racist as the statement itself.” He also called Kelly a colleague and friend but assessed that her words were “stupid” and “indefensible.” Melvin also believes that even though this situation has taught some people more about blackface, “I think a lot of people [already] knew about black face.”
The NBC reaction doesn’t end there. On Tuesday’s edition of Nightly News, anchor Lester Holt called Kelly’s remarks “tone deaf.” Watch below.
UPDATE: Kelly also further addressed the matter on her own hour of TODAY. In this clip, she states, “I was wrong, and I am sorry.”