Megyn Kelly Apologizes for Questioning If Wearing Blackface on Halloween Is Racist
The Megyn Kelly Today host sent an internal email to colleagues on Tuesday, just hours after she posed the question on-air
The Megyn Kelly Today host sent an internal email to colleagues on Tuesday, just hours after she posed the question on air.
“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,” Kelly began in her email, obtained by PEOPLE.
“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. 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?” she continued.
Kelly acknowledged that she now realizes “that such behavior is indeed wrong, and I am sorry. The history of blackface in our culture is abhorrent; the wounds too deep.”
She admitted that she’s “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. 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.”
She concluded by telling the NBC News staff that she is “honored to work with all of you every day.”
The apology followed a discussion on her morning talk show about censoring Halloween costumes. Kelly asked Jacob Soboroff, Melissa Rivers and Jenna Bush Hager: “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 white face for Halloween. Back when I was a kid, that was okay as long as you were dressing up as like a character,” she said.
“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,” Soboroff, 35, replied.
“You gotta be able to take it,” Kelly, 47, agreed.
“If you think it’s offensive, it probably is,” said Rivers, 50. “And one of my big complaints just about society right now is … whatever happened to just manners and polite society?”
“But on Halloween?” Kelly asked. “On Halloween, you’ve got guys running around with fake axes coming out of their heads. It’s going to be jarring.”
“I think that there are limits to how far you wanna go,” Bush Hager, 36, chimed in. “You’re making people feel bad.”
“Normal people kind of know where that line is,” Rivers said.
“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.
On Watch What Happens Live in April, de Lesseps responded to backlash against her costume and denied that she had darkened her skin. “I’m horrified,” she said. “I never meant to hurt anybody’s feelings. I love Diana Ross and I totally respect Diana Ross. It was really kind of a tribute to her, and it was Halloween.”