Don Lemon Says Megyn Kelly Controversy "Partially the Fault of" NBC
Lemon came down hard on NBC management and the 'Megyn Kelly Today' host's representatives in a conversation with fellow CNN anchor Chris Cuomo.
Don Lemon said the fallout over Megyn Kelly's controversial blackface comments is in part the "fault of the people who hired her" while discussing the reported end of her show on CNN on Thursday.
Joining Chris Cuomo on Cuomo Prime Time on Thursday, Lemon called out NBC management and Megyn's representatives for precipitating this week's Megyn Kelly Today debacle by arranging Kelly's transition to a morning show in the first place. Of reports that Kelly's NBC show will soon end as a result of the comments, the CNN Tonight With Don Lemon host said, "She made some mistakes and now she's suffering the consequences. But I also think that it is partially the fault of the people who hired her. Because Megyn’s record, how she feels about things, she says she’s not PC, it’s there. All you have to do is do a Google search."
Lemon added, "They knew exactly what they were getting when they hired Megyn Kelly."
Kelly first sparked outrage when she expressed skepticism over the racism of blackface Halloween costumes, a segment that led to the House of Cards cast canceling their appearance on her show, Kelly parting ways with her agency, CAA, and NBC replacing live tapings of her show with re-runs for the rest of the week. Kelly has hired a top Hollywood litigator and is expected to end her show imminently.
Kelly has publicly apologized twice for her comments.
Lemon added that NBC's blunder in hiring Kelly didn't excuse her insensitivity, but said he wouldn't go so far as to call her comments "racist." He said, rather, that she was "unaware of the history."
"So I think that the management has to take some responsibility in it, she has to take some responsibility in it, and also her representatives have to take some responsibility in it," he said.
Lemon then noted that it is difficult to change a correspondent or host's brand in TV news, and that Kelly had made a dramatic shift in moving from hard-hitting political coverage on Fox News to lighter morning-show fare on Megyn Kelly Today. "You need to stick to your personality and the audience will come along with you. I think her representatives and management also did her wrong because they put her in a position that was not necessarily suited to her skill set," Lemon said.
Cuomo argued that NBC management wasn't going to get out of the situation easily, as it has been reported that Kelly will receive a $69 million buyout for leaving her show.
Kelly's lawyer, Bryan Freedman, will meet with NBC executives as soon as Friday to discuss her status at the network.