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Kelly addressed her audience, with the camera close up on her, at the top of her Wednesday show.
“I want to begin with two words: I’m sorry,” she said, before recapping Tuesday’s Halloween costumes conversation.
“I was wrong, and I am sorry. One of the great parts of sitting in this chair is getting to discuss different points of view. Sometimes I talk and sometimes I listen, and yesterday I learned. I learned given the history of blackface 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.”
Kelly continued, repeating some of the same points she made in her note to her colleagues Tuesday. “I’ve never been a PC 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 helping me listen, too.”
At the end of her speech, audience members were heard shouting, “We love you” and gave her a standing ovation
Kelly then began a panel about race with Roland Martin and Amy Holmes, co-host of PBS’ In Principle. Martin and Holmes then talked about the history of blackface and why it’s considered offensive as well as race relations in the U.S. They did most of the talking, with Kelly listening.
Kelly’s apology comes after she asked, during a segment about Halloween costumes Tuesday, “What is racist? Because truly you 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 as long as you were dressing up as, like, a character.”
She sent her NBC News colleagues an email Tuesday, saying that after hearing from colleagues and friends, she realized her comments were wrong.
“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,” she wrote in her apology email.
She later added, “The history of blackface in our culture is abhorrent; the wounds too deep.”
Kelly famously landed in hot water after she identified Santa Claus as a white man on her nightly Fox News program.
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