Hours after NBC’s Megyn Kelly came under fire for the comments she made about blackface during her TV show on Tuesday, Oct. 23, the Today host apologized to her “friends and teammates” in an email obtained by Us Weekly.
“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,” Megyn began her apology note.
“When we had the roundtable discussion earlier today about the controversy of making your face look like a different race as part of a Halloween costume, I suggested that this seemed okay if done as part of this holiday where people have the chance to make themselves look like others,” she continued. “The iconic Diana Ross came up as an example. To me, I thought, why would it be controversial for someone dressing up as Diana Ross to make herself look like this amazing woman as a way of honoring and respecting her?”
“I realize now that such behavior is indeed wrong, and I am sorry. The history of blackface in our culture is abhorrent; the wounds too deep. I’ve never been a [politically correct] 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,” Megyn wrote to her colleagues.
“This is a time for more understanding, love, sensitivity, and honor, and I want to be part of that. I look forward to continuing that discussion. I’m honored to work with all of you every day,” she concluded the email.
Earlier on Tuesday, Megyn held an on-air discussion about why some universities ban Halloween costumes that are considered racist or culturally insensitive. And, at the time, Megyn didn’t seem to understand the problem. “But what is racist?” she asked the panel. “You do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface for Halloween, or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween… when I was a kid, that was OK as long as you were dressing up as a character.”
Megyn Kelly wonders what the big deal is about blackface pic.twitter.com/07yvYDuAYe
— Tommy Christopher (@tommyxtopher) October 23, 2018
She even used Luann de Lesseps, a cast member from The Real Housewives of New York, as an example. “There was controversy on The Real Housewives of New York with Luann, as she dressed like Diana Ross and she made her skin look darker than it really is,” the 47-year-old explained. “And people said that was racist and I felt like, ‘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. It’s not like she’s walking around [wearing blackface] in general.” Megyn added, “I can’t keep up with the number of people we’re offending just by being, like, normal people.”
Many people on Twitter expressed their outrage and slammed Megyn for her “ignorance.” One user wrote, “@MegynKelly please check yourself,” while another added, “Your white privilege and ignorance is showing.” Another person said, “Megyn Kelly is absolutely clueless about racism in America. How do you not know that doing blackface is racist? NBC, please suspend or fire her.”
Closer Weekly’s sister site, In Touch, reached out to Megyn’s team for comment earlier today but did not hear back.
Join our Facebook group for the latest news and updates on the Today show!