"But what is racist?" Kelly asked. "Because you get in trouble if you're a white person who puts on a black face on Halloween, or a black person who puts on a white face for Halloween." Before, when I was a child, it was okay, as long as you disguised yourself as, Like, a character. "
Later in the discussion, Kelly mentioned Luann de Lesseps, a star of "The Real Housewives of New York", who last year had a violent reaction to dressing up as Ross.
"There was a controversy about The Real Housewives of New York with Luann, and she dressed like Diana Ross, and she made her skin look darker than it really is and people said that it was racist." Kelly said. "And I do not know, I felt like I did not love Diana Ross, she wants to look like Diana Ross for a day, I do not know how, that got racist on Halloween."
(De Lesseps apologized for the disguise, but denied having altered his skin).
Many observers were appalled by Kelly's comments, and some observed that the panel did not include a single person of color. And, absent from the discussion, the ugly history of the black face was mentioned, a tradition that goes on for centuries to perpetuate racist stereotypes.
But the panelists on Tuesday did not echo Kelly's point of view.
"If you think it's offensive, it probably is," said author and television host Melissa Rivers. "What happened to the righteous, the manners and the educated society?"
"But on Halloween? On Halloween you have guys running around with fake axes coming out of your head," Kelly replied. "You're going to do it, it's going to be jarring."
After Kelly mentioned the controversy surrounding Lesseps, another panelist, Jacob Soboroff, an MSNBC correspondent, responded.
"I have not seen it, I have not seen it, but it seems a bit racist to me," he said.
In her note to her colleagues after the show was broadcast, Kelly explained that she now understands how she made a mistake with those comments.
"When we had the round table discussion about the controversy of making your face look like a different race as part of a Halloween costume, I suggested that this seemed right if it was done as part of this holiday where people have the opportunity. To see". like others, "she said." The iconic Diana Ross emerged as an example. For me, I thought, why would it be controversial that someone who disguises herself as Diana Ross looks like this incredible woman as a way to honor and respect her? "
"Now I realize that such behavior is wrong, and I'm sorry," Kelly added. "The history of the black face in our culture is abominable, the wounds are too deep."
The response to Kelly, particularly on Twitter, was loud on Tuesday, with several celebrities joining the heap.
"I can not believe ignorance about this in 2018. You're on national television," said Padma Lakshmi, host of "Top Chef," in a tweet to Kelly. "You have the responsibility to educate yourself on social issues @megynkelly, this is very damaging."
"By the way, for all the children who look at home, Santa Claus is white," she said before taking Jesus to the discussion in good measure.
"Jesus was also a white man," he said at the time. "He was a historical figure, that's a verifiable fact, as is Santa."
Kelly addressed her colleagues on Tuesday and said "she has never been a type of person", but I understand that we need to be more sensitive these days.
"Particularly on issues of race and ethnicity that, far from being cured, have been exacerbated in our policy over the past year," Kelly said. "This is a time for greater understanding, love, sensitivity and honor, and I want to be a part of that, and I hope to continue that discussion."