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Megyn Kelly, no stranger to controversy during her year as host of NBC’s Megyn Kelly Today, is in hot water on Tuesday after she seemed to defend the wearing of blackface costumes, arguing that it used to be acceptable.
“But, what is racist?” she asked her panelists. “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 okay as long as you were dressing up as like a character.”
Kelly’s comment sparked an intense backlash on social media.
“If somebody feels like something is offensive to them, then you should say it, and that’s fair game, and you should be able to take it if you’re going to dress up like that,” NBC News reporter Jacob Soboroff said in response to Kelly’s comment.
“On Halloween, you’ve got guys running around with fake axes coming out of their heads,” Kelly said. “It’s going to be jarring.”
Kelly also defended Real Housewives of New York star Luann de Lessep’s Diana Ross costume from last Halloween. “Who doesn’t love Diana Ross? She wants to look like Diana Ross for one day, and I don’t know how that got racist on Halloween,” Kelly said.
Stars such as Padma Lakshmi and Patton Oswalt called out Kelly for her remarks.
“Because caricaturing another race perpetuates the dehumanization of POC who are being killed & jailed at a disproportionate rate in the US,” Lakshmi wrote. Oswalt tweeted, “Dear @megynkelly — you and I are approximately the same age. Blackface was NOT okay when we were kids. Take it from a big-hearted boy who just wanted to show his love for Nipsey Russell on the worst Halloween of my life.”
The Daily Show‘s Roy Wood Jr. also chimed in. “Ohhhhhhhhhhh!!!! So Halloween is like a “bye week’ for racism…. Like a one day Purge for blackface…..GOT IT!,” he wrote.
Kelly later apologized for her remarks in an internal email, in which she said that she’s heard from colleagues and friends and realizes her comments were wrong
Oct. 23, 3:37 p.m. Updated to include Kelly’s apology.
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