Megyn Kelly began this morning’s program by apologizing for her remarks yesterday where she defends the use of blackface on Halloween:
Good morning, everyone and welcome to the show. I’m Megyn Kelly and I want to begin with two words: I’m sorry. You may have heard that yesterday we had a discussion here about political correctness and Halloween costumes. And that conversation turned to whether it is ever okay for a person of one race to dress up as another, a black person making their face lighter or a white person making theirs darker, to make a costume complete. I defended the idea saying as long as it was respectful and part of a Halloween costume it seemed okay. Well, I was wrong and I am sorry. One of the great parts of sitting in this chair each day is getting to discuss different points of view. Sometimes I talk and sometimes I listen and yesterday, I learned. I learned that given the history of blackface being used in awful ways by racists in this country it is not okay for that to be part of any costume, Halloween or otherwise. I have never been a ‘pc’ kind of person but I do understand the value in being sensitive to our history, particularly on race and ethnicity. This past year has been so painful for many people of color, the country feels so divided and I have no wish to add to that pain and offense. I believe this is a time for more understanding, more love, more sensitivity and honor and I want to be part of that. Thank you for listening and for helping me listen, too.
Kelly received a 2-minute standing ovation after finishing her on-air apology, which came roughly 90 minutes after longtime Today show co-host Al Roker strongly criticized her for the original remarks:
The fact is, she apologized to the staff, but she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the country because this is a history – going back to the 1830s minstrel shows – that to me denigrate a race. It wasn’t right. I’m old enough to live through Amos & Andy, where you had white people in blackface playing two black characters and just magnifying the worst stereotypes about black people. And that’s what the issue here is…it’s just not right.
Today show news anchor Craig Melvin expressed a similar sentiment:
There was some criticism online that this was “political correctness run amok.” That’s silly and it’s just as ignorant and racist as the statement itself. In addition to her being a colleague, she’s a friend. She said something stupid. She said something indefensible, and the fact — a lot of folks don’t realize that Jim Crow, short hand for the racist laws that existed in this country for much of the last century, especially in the deep south, the term Jim Crow from a minstrel show in the 1830s. It guess it was an opportunity for us to learn more about blackface, but I think a lot of people knew about blackface before yesterday.