After starting the controversy Tuesday with her black face defense for a Halloween costume, Megyn Kelly offered an apology for NBC's "Megyn Kelly Today" on Wednesday morning.
"I want to start with two words: I'm sorry," Kelly told her audience. "You may have heard that yesterday we had a discussion here about political correctness and Halloween costumes. And that conversation focused on whether it is always right for a person of one race to dress like another: a black person who lightens his face or a white person who darkens to complete the disguise. I defended the idea, saying that whenever it was respectful and part of a Halloween costume, it seemed fine. Well, I was wrong. And I'm sorry."
"One of the great parts of sitting in this chair is discussing the points of view. Sometimes I speak, and sometimes I listen. And yesterday, I learned, "Kelly continued. "I learned that given the history of the black face that racists use in this country in a horrible way, it's not right that it's part of any costume, Halloween or otherwise."
In fact, Kelly received intense criticism for his comments on Tuesday, while expressing himself during a round table on "political correctness had gone mad." When the issue of racist costumes arose, Kelly asked: "But what is racist?" Growing up, Blackface was fine "as long as you were dressing like a character".
He also defended the star of "Real Housewives of New York", Luann de Lesseps, who received a violent reaction to darken his skin by a disguise of Diana Ross. "Who does not love Diana Ross? Do you want to look like Diana Ross for a day? I do not know how she became a racist on Halloween," Kelly complained. "It's not like she's walking in general."
As the Twitter responses arrived on Tuesday, ("Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi: "I can not believe ignorance about this in 2018. You're on national television," Kelly apologized in a statement. Then, on Wednesday, colleagues on Kelly's "Today" program also criticized his comments. Co-presenter Savannah Guthrie acknowledged that she was "uncomfortable," since Kelly was an employee of NBC News.
"Most online criticism addressed the fact that there were no people of color represented on that panel," said correspondent Morgan Radford; Kelly's panel on Tuesday included Jenna Bush Hager, Jacob Soboroff and Melissa Rivers. "But this moment of learning really gave us the opportunity to have this conversation in a public speech."
"The fact is that while he apologized to the staff, he owes a bigger apology to people of color across the country, "said Al Roker, meteorological predictor / co-host." Because this is a story. the 1830s, Minstrel shows … I'm old enough to have lived in & # 39; Amos & # 39; n & # 39; Andy & # 39; where you had black people in the black face playing with two characters blacks and simply magnifying the worst stereotypes about blacks. "
Craig Melvin, the news anchor of "Today," said there was some online criticism that the controversy was "political correctness was unleashed," which was not the case.
"That's silly and it's false, and it's as ignorant and racist as the statement itself," Melvin said. "And besides being a colleague, she's a friend." She said something stupid, she said something indefensible … I guess it was an opportunity to learn a little more about Blackface, but I think a lot of people knew about Blackface before yesterday. " .
On his show, about 90 minutes later, Kelly invited TV presenters Roland Martin and Amy Holmes to have an additional discussion about Blackface's story and how offensive it is to consider that as a Halloween costume.
"I think the problem is that, for African-Americans, we know the story and many white Americans do not know or do not accept it." And the reality is that it's the history of the United States, yours and mine, "Martin said." You look at the black face. White artists used black faces to imitate African-Americans, to caricature African-Americans. Watch minstrel shows. Black artists were forced to wear blackface because whites did not want to see the humanity of blacks. So, therefore, they had a black face. "
"The problem is that many of us grew up learning history, and not real history," Martin continued. That is the problem that we have to accept. And when we are adults and educated, we must go beyond what we were taught and what we learned in our homes and say, "It is better that you be fully aware of the real history of the United States," rather than denying it. that really happened in this country."
The audience applauded. "And the other part is that seeing a white person darken their skin, even for a disguise, today, evokes that past," Kelly acknowledged.
Holmes admitted that he "shuddered" when he saw the headlines on Tuesday. "I understood the idea of:" But I love this character! "I love Diana Ross!" Or any number of African-American characters and real people historically, "said Holmes." But even there, Megyn, Hollywood also has a history of disrepute when hiring white actors to play ethnic minorities because of racist casting practices. "Even if it was intended to be respectful or reflective and reflective, it reflected in our culture the non-acceptance of ethnic minorities in media representation."
The conversation continued for more than 10 minutes while Martin and Holmes talked about the racism that persists; Kelly mostly listened. Holmes concluded: "The last part is that I can play Diana Ross. I'm sorry, Megyn, you can not. "
The audience laughed at that, but Martin replied, "Megyn, you can play Diana Ross, how can you play any other character?" But you just put on a robe, grab a fan and then you have big hair, you're fine. But that is the mistake we make when we say "I want to cross that line".
"There are lines," he added. "And there is history and there is pain, and when we recognize that, we can learn and grow from that, while we, as Americans, live in denial and act as if that does not matter, we will continue to have this problem for the next 400 years."
The drama of Megyn Kelly-Jane Fonda, explained.
Megyn Kelly warns Brokaw's defenders: "You do not know what you do not know"
Review | The NBC Megyn Kelly experiment reveals his latest creation, a morning show Bride of Frankenstein