Megyn Kelly's Most Controversial Moments, from Insisting Santa Is White to Defending Blackface
“They’re contacting the staff and reassigning everyone today. Everyone’s being told that they still have a home here, but it won’t be on Megyn’s show,” one source told PEOPLE. “They haven’t made an official announcement about the show, but everyone knows what it means when they’re being moved somewhere else. The show is clearly over.”
Two additional sources insist that Kelly has not been fired from NBC completely (and she herself has not been told the network’s final decision), but her 9 a.m. show “is most likely over.”
The former Fox News host drew ire Tuesday morning when she questioned whether wearing blackface as part of a Halloween costume is actually racist during a segment on her show.
She and an all-white panel were discussing campus attempts to discourage “inappropriate and offensive costumes” when 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.”
But this certainly isn’t the first time Kelly’s behavior and has landed the star in hot water.
Insisting Santa Clause and Jesus are white
Before joining NBC last year, Kelly worked at Fox News, and in 2013, she took issue with a headline arguing that Santa Claus shouldn’t always be portrayed as a white man.
“When I saw this headline I kind of laughed, and I said, ‘This is so ridiculous. Yet another person claiming it’s racist to have a white Santa,’ ” Kelly said at the time. “And by the way, for all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white. But this person is just arguing that maybe we should also have a black Santa, but Santa is what he is, and just so you know, we’re just debating this ’cause someone wrote about it, kids.”
She compared the issue to that of the portrayal of Jesus.
“Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change,” she said. “Jesus was a white man, too… He was a historical figure, that’s a verifiable fact, as is Santa. I just want the kids watching to know that.” (Jesus’ race and appearance are actually debated among historians.)
When asked about the incident last year, Kelly admitted she misspoke.
“I regret a lot of what I’ve said,” Kelly said. “I mean you’re going to be on the air several hours a week live television, you’re going to say stupid (expletive). That’s just the reality you know, so yeah there’s a lot I’d like to go back and say differently.”
Asking Jane Fonda about her plastic surgery
This quickly turned sour during an interview with Jane Fonda in Septemeber 2017 when Kelly asked the star about her history with plastic surgery.
Fonda, who was on Megyn Kelly Today to promote her film Our Souls at Night, didn’t hide her distaste for the question.
“We really want to talk about that now?” Fonda said.
Months later, Kelly addressed the awkward moment after Fonda joked about the exchange while appearing on an earlier hour of the Today show. Kelly said she stood by her question, dredging up Fonda’s controversial actions during the Vietnam Warand claiming she was not “in the market for a lesson from Jane Fonda on what is and is not appropriate.”
“When she first complained publicly after the program — and repeatedly — I chose to say nothing, as my generally philosophy is what other people think of me is none of my business,” Kelly said on her show Monday. “However, Fonda was at it again last week, including here on NBC and then elsewhere, so it’s time to address the ‘poor me’ routine.”
“Look, I gave her a chance to empower other women, young and old, on a subject which she purports to know well, and she rejected it — that’s okay,” she explained. “But I have no regrets about that question, nor am I in the market for a lesson from Jane Fonda on what is and is not appropriate. After all, this is a woman whose name is synonymous with outrage.”
An awkward Will & Grace interview
The same month as Kelly’s Fonda interview, the cast of Will & Grace appeared on the show ahead of the revival’s premiere.
During the segment, Kelly invited a superfan to meet his television idols. “Is it true that you became a lawyer — and you became gay — because of Will?” she asked.
Before he left the stage, Kelly told the fan, “I think the Will & Grace thing and the gay thing is going to work out great!”
When asked about the awkward moment by a fan on Instagram, Debra Messing said she wished she hadn’t participated in the show.
“Regret going on,” she wrote. “Dismayed by her comments.”
Kelly was accused of promoting fat-shaming during an interview with fitness enthusiast Maria Kang earlier this year.
“Some of us want to be shamed,” Kelly said. “When I was in law school, and I was gaining weight, I said to my stepfather, ‘If you see me go into that kitchen one more time, you say, ‘Where are you going, fat…?’ “
“And it works!” Kelly said giving the audience a thumbs up.
The next day, Kelly walked back her statement on air.
“I said something yesterday on this show that clearly struck a nerve, and I think it’s a conversation that we need to have openly,” she said. “We were discussing body shaming others, something I absolutely do not support. In fact, quite the opposite.”
“I still cringe when I hear a person attacked for his or her weight,” she added. “Please know I would never encourage that toward any person. I’ve been thinking a lot about why I once encouraged it toward myself.”