Megyn Kelly has been under fire this week following comments she made on her Tuesday show regarding blackface. The controversial discussion was between Kelly, Melissa Rivers, Jacob Soboroff, and Jenna Bush Hager. Kelly had made a comment asking if blackface is ever okay in the case of it being part of a Halloween costume. She had said that in her youth blackface was acceptable if you were dressing as a particular character. Many viewers were not pleased that Kelly had suggested that there is any situation where blackface would be considered remotely permissible.
After a slew of angry comments and a social media storm, Kelly tried to backtrack with an apology in the form of email to her fellow Today Show colleagues. However, not all of them are buying it. According to Today, Al Roker thinks that Kelly’s apology hardly makes up for her hurtful words. While speaking with Savannah Guthrie and Craig Melvin during Today‘s 7 a.m. hour, Roker explained why he found Kelly’s comments so offensive.
“The fact is, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the county,” Roker said. “This is a history, going back to the 1830s [with] minstrel shows. To demean and denigrate a race wasn’t right. I’m old enough to have lived through Amos ‘n’ Andy where you had white people in blackface playing two black characters just magnifying the stereotypes about black people. And that’s what the big problem is. … No good comes from it. It’s just not right.”
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"I want to begin with two words, I'm sorry…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…Thank you for listening and for helping me listen too." Tap the link in our bio to hear this morning's entire panel discussion with Roland Martin and PBS's Amy Holmes.
Kelly started off her Wednesday show by issuing a tearful public apology for her earlier comments that many deemed as racist. She says that she now understands that due to the negative connotations associated with blackface, it should never permissible.
“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,” Kelly said. “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.”
In the past, Kelly has prided herself in not feeling the need to be overly sensitive or politically correct when dealing with controversial issues. However, this is one situation when some tact could have prevented such a heated backlash. She claims that she will now work harder to show more respect and understanding in regard to issues of race in the future.