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Megyn Kelly was once talked about as the future face of NBC News, possibly as her next main news anchor. Now, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter, she has lost her position as host of NBC Today show at 9 a.m.
Negotiations between NBC and Kelly are ongoing, the person said.
"It is clear that he will not return to the network," the person told NPR.
For the past two days, Kelly has tried unsuccessfully to contain the damage of several statements she made at her time in Today Defending the whites' desire to dress in the black face costume for Halloween.
Colleagues and people in social networks reacted indignantly to his comments, often pointing to his own past as a presenter on Fox News, which periodically made racially charged comments.
"What is racist?" Kelly asked on Tuesday in a conversation with other panelists on his show. "You really get in trouble if you're a white person who puts on a black face for Halloween, or a black person who puts on a white face for Halloween." When I was a child, it was okay, as long as you disguised yourself as , Like, a character. "
Kelly, who is 47 years old, grew up outside of Albany, New York. The television star returned to the subject more than once during the discussion, defending a star from the white reality show who was punished for dressing up as Diana Ross, replete with a large afro wig. His comments referred to a painful streak in American racial history that Kelly said, in an apology, that only now was he fully aware of it.
The network did not respond to NPR's questions about Kelly's status, though an NBC News official told NPR that his program would be repeated on Thursday and Friday, given the controversy.
The incident recalled past controversies on Fox News. In 2013, Kelly made infamous racial claims for both Jesus Christ and Santa Claus: "For all children who watch at home, Santa Claus is white," Kelly said during a discussion on Fox News in 2013. "Jesus was a white man" . as well."
Initially, she said that she had been joking. Last year, once on NBC, he told Business Insider that he regretted those observations.
Somehow, NBC spoke more directly through their broadcasts, in which Kelly's colleagues uniformly condemned their comments. Lester Holt of NBC Nightly News, the only African-American night presenter among the nation's three major broadcast chains, devoted an extensive segment to the controversy, which included critical quotes from the head of the NAACP, among others.
NBC News President Andrew Lack, his strongest advocate within the news division, had hired her away from Fox News in early 2017 amid a ton of fanfare and an annual paycheck of over $ 16 million . The lack remarkably refused to defend her in a meeting this week with employees.
About him Today In the program, of which his program is part, two African-American colleagues offered strong criticisms on Wednesday.
Al Roker said that his email apology to his colleagues was insufficient. "She owes a bigger apology to people of color across the country, because this is a story that goes back to the 1830s. Minstrel shows," Roker said. "It was not right to degrade and denigrate a race."
"There was some criticism online yesterday that this was a political correction," said Craig Melvin, a new co-host at Today. "That's silly, and it's false, and it's as ignorant and racist as the statement itself."
At the opening of his show on Wednesday, only 90 minutes after Melvin and Roker spoke, Kelly also apologized to the spectators. She has not been seen in the air since that episode ended.
In retrospect, Kelly's implosion seems almost predestined. They had hired her as part of Lack's effort to prove that NBC News would not be on the list on the left, despite the liberal outlook of MSNBC. It came from the nation's most influential outlet among Republicans and cultural conservatives: Fox News.
Kelly could also claim a sense of independence; despite the affinity of Fox News with President Trump, she had confronted him during the campaign. And she had embraced the #MeToo movement. In fact, her accusation in July 2016 that Fox News president Roger Ailes had sexually harassed her, in addition to former Fox presenter Gretchen Carlson, ensured Ailes' dismissal.
However, her story on Fox News followed her. In the summer of 2010, Kelly made a meal from a threatening but very small hate group called the New Black Panthers, saying there was a campaign of intimidation to voters. Several of them faced criminal charges for an incident in 2008, but charges against the group were dropped after US Department of Justice officials said there was no convincing evidence that the group was involved. One member was legally sanctioned. But no voter seemed discouraged to vote.
Kelly spent hours at the New Black Panthers for a period of three weeks, attacking other media for not covering the story, and shouting at a colleague who disagreed. She also apologized for that.
However, she was serving red meat to the main Fox News viewer, and those programs were part of a record that helped her move from the reporter to the day host and the host during prime time. And he could never turn the corner to offer the softest fare the hosts of the morning require.