Megyn Kelly has sparked a furious backlash after questioning – and defending – dressing in blackface for a costume.
While discussing Halloween costumes with a panel on Tuesday’s “Today” show, Kelly noted that it was “okay when I was a kid” and did not understand how dressing in blackface could now be considered racist.
“What is racist?” Kelly said. “You do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface on Halloween, or a black person that 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.”
The panel quickly chimed in.
“You can dress like an idiot, act like an idiot and actually dress and be racist, somebody should say something to somebody — but you should be able to dress like a moron,” NBC News reporter Jacob Soboroff said.
“If you think it’s offensive, it probably is,” Rivers said. “Whatever happened to manners and polite society?” TV host Melissa Rivers asked, to which Kelly noted Halloween was not normally known for civility.
“You’ve got guys with fake axes coming out of their head,” Kelly said. “It’s going to be jarring.”
But Kelly pressed the point when she brought up “Real Housewives of New York” star Luann de Lesseps who decided to darken her features when she dressed as Diana Ross.
“I don’t see how that is racist on Halloween,” Kelly said.
“I haven’t seen it, but it sounds pretty racist to me,” Soboroff replied.
“I can’t keep up with the number of people were offending just by being normal people these days,” Kelly added.
Her controversial comments instantly ignited a firestorm on social media.
The faces behind Megyn Kelly is all of us as she displays her ignorance about blackface pic.twitter.com/O30I1mgAuO
— R.E.I.G.N (@IAMREIGN) October 23, 2018
I thought I couldn’t stand #MegynKelly no more than i already do. I was wrong. The more I look at this clip of her ignorant a** defending black face the more pissed I get. Nice going NBC. ?
— LaSonya (@LaSonya_Wilson) October 23, 2018
She’s supposedly a journalist. She doesn’t get a pass on this. Megyn isn’t brand new and her supposed lack of understanding is disingenuous.
— MickeyD (@Mickey_D66) October 23, 2018
Grew up in small town Pennsylvania and am in my 40s as well. Blackface is hella racist. Megyn Kelly is still costing NBC heaps of viewers.
— Liz Loboo!veland ??? (@lizl_genealogy) October 23, 2018
Megyn Kelly is a product of Fox News, so like…none of this is surprising pic.twitter.com/mNCc62entr
— Andrien Gbinigie (@EscoBlades) October 23, 2018
I cannot believe the ignorance on this in 2018. You are on national television. You have a responsibility to educate yourself on social issues @megynkelly. This is so damaging. https://t.co/R7UJzkDDG9 https://t.co/7qFkqGHfGJ
— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) October 23, 2018
Dear @megynkelly — you and I are approximately the same age. Blackface was NOT okay when we were kids. Take it from a big-hearted boy who just wanted to show his love for Nipsey Russell on the worst Halloween of my life. https://t.co/pnsk0WmuTw
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) October 23, 2018
The costume segment had kicked off with Kelly addressing a story of a UK university that had issued what was considered appropriate as well as unacceptable costumes.
“This year, the costume police are cracking down like never before. Take a look at what some how say is now an offensive costume,” she said. “You may no longer dress as a cowboy. That’s now offensive.”
She went on to name other banned costumes including dressing as a Mexican, a Native American, a nun and even Anne Frank, which prompted Rivers to ask if that was even a costume.
“Isn’t the whole purpose of Halloween to dress up and pretend you are someone else?” Kelly asked. “I just feel like it’s so absurd, I mean who comes up with these rules.”
“And you know what they’re saying you can dress as… Letters of the alphabet,” she said. “I said Doug and I are going to go together. I can go as F and he can go as U.”
That earned her rousing applause but her blackface remarks, however, overshadowed the rest of the debate, unleashing a flood of responses on Twitter attacking Kelly and recalling her 2013 comments about Santa Claus being white.
Megyn Kelly is defending blackface so good morning, America <__<
— Sophia (@SophiaTesfaye) October 23, 2018
I had to immediately change the channel, I was so horrified by the casual racism that @MegynTODAY @NBCNews @nbc allows
— (and talent) (@jensuths) October 23, 2018
oh no, baby, what is you doing? https://t.co/55DLL5JZ4L
— siraj hashmi (@SirajAHashmi) October 23, 2018
I thought this might have been an exaggeration, but no, Megyn Kelly is really doing a “I don’t see what’s so offensive about blackface” https://t.co/xtECr43UMg
— jamelle g-g-ghoulie ? (@jbouie) October 23, 2018
I love how exasperated she is. It’s telling when someone is just so darn confused and frustrated about why blatantly racist shit is racist that they just can’t make sense out of it.
— Brendel (@Brendelbored) October 23, 2018
Why be surprised? She also has declared that Santa Claus is white and Jesus was too! Her ignorance about race is so glaring, she really should stop speaking on the subject…or go back and work for Fox where her brand of stupid is in demand.
— Janet Angry Arrogant Democrat (@JanetThoma) October 23, 2018
Megyn Kelly is really out here opening her show this morning with a panel of 3 other whites people talking about offensive Halloween costumes saying political correctness has run amok and asking if black face is really that bad ?? phewww
— Stephanie Rhéa (@stephanierhea_) October 23, 2018
This is the same @megynkelly who lost her mind when there were Black Santas at malls ??
— Roger That (@TheArtfulRogerT) October 23, 2018
Holy shit black face is not some new millennial concept of offensive. It’s historically offensive. Anyone with a basic knowledge of history knows this.
— Joseph MacDonald (@neogreenlantern) October 23, 2018
Megyn Kelly doesn’t understand what is racist about “black face”. After her comments on Santa and Jesus, why are people surprised about this? The ignorance is deep with this one.
— Chad (@ckros1) October 23, 2018
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