Al Roker Slams Trolls Questioning Why He Dressed as a White Character amid Megyn Kelly Scandal
"You can be President Obama if you want. Just don’t color your skin!" Al Roker tweeted
Al Roker is clapping back at trolls who don’t understand why blackface is offensive one week after NBC canceled his colleague Megyn Kelly’s hour of the Today show over her comments on the issue.
For the Today show’s Halloween broadcast on Wednesday, the hosts all wore ’80s costumes, and the weather anchor dressed up as Back to the Future‘s Dr. Emmet Brown (a.k.a. Doc Brown), famously played by actor Christopher Lloyd.
After some viewers questioned the black journalist’s decision to dress up as a film character portrayed by a Caucasian actor, Roker tweeted a simple explanation.
“I’m going to say this one last time, but the folks who get it, understand and the ones who DON’T, won’t,” tweeted Roker, 64.
“I can be Doc Brown, and I wear the outfit and wig and not change my skin color,” he tweeted. “if you’re white, you can be President Obama if you want. Just don’t color your skin!”
Last week, while discussing attempts at universities to discourage “inappropriate and offensive costumes,” former Fox News host Kelly asked: “But 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 okay as long as you were dressing up as like a character.”
“The fact is, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the county,” he said. “This is a history, going back to the 1830s [with] minstrel shows. To demean and denigrate a race wasn’t right. I’m old enough to have lived through Amos ‘n’ Andy where you had white people in blackface playing two black characters just magnifying the stereotypes about black people. And that’s what the big problem is. … No good comes from it. It’s just not right.”
“She said something stupid, she said something indefensible,” added Melvin, who called Kelly’s statement “ignorant and racist” but also called her “a colleague” and “a friend.”
Kelly, 47, has since apologized for her comments twice — first in an internal email to colleagues and then on-air as she held back tears. She did not appear live on the air last Thursday or Friday, when NBC officially canceled Megyn Kelly Today.
On Wednesday, Kelly’s attorney blasted NBC News as both parties attempt to negotiate her exit from the network.
“Despite my efforts to handle this process confidentially, NBC News is allowing the media to run with completely false and irresponsible reports that disparage Megyn by erroneously claiming she has ever asked for more money than her contract requires,” lawyer Bryan Freedman told PEOPLE in a statement. “If NBC News is not the source then they have a responsibility as a news division to correct these false claims. Or are they somehow attempting to use these fabrications for some fictitious advantage in the discussions we’re having? If Andy Lack has lost control, my hope would be that Steve Burke can step in and not permit blatant lies about our discussions to remain uncorrected.”
In response, an NBC spokesperson told PEOPLE: “Unlike Mr. Freedman, who has repeatedly commented to the media throughout the negotiations, we respect the confidentiality of the process, and will have no comment until it reaches its conclusion.”