Megyn Kelly is notably absent from Megyn Kelly Today after a backlash to her comments defending blackface Halloween costumes. But Kelly’s stint as an NBC News host has been troubled from the beginning. E! Online explains that the former Fox host was lured to the network with a lucrative contract to replace Tamron Hall and Al Roker on the Today Show’s 9 a.m. hour, and things quickly went south for Kelly.
As part of her new contract with NBC, Kelly was given a hard news show called Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly in addition to her hour on the Today Show.
In June 2017, shortly after the new show launched, Kelly took criticism for interviewing right-wing conspiracy peddler Alex Jones. The show’s production was paused after ratings continued to drop, though the show was never canceled.
Throughout the spring and summer of 2018, Kelly’s show continued to air, although sporadically. Kelly continued to appear regularly on her morning show, which first aired on September 25, 2017.
Critics were not kind to the new host. In October, the New York Times called Kelly awkward and the show “not enjoyable.”
“She showed flashes of a dry, deadpan humor. But Megyn Kelly Today is following a daytime template of escape, uplift and inspiration in which it doesn’t fit,” the New York Times wrote.
Time called the host “more chilly than chill,” awkward, and said that Kelly asked viewers to “suspend disbelief” in order to enjoy the show.
One of Kelly’s first guests was Debra Messing, who appeared on the show to promote the return of the series Will & Grace. Messing said that she regretted appearing on the show. Later, Kelly asked Jane Fonda about her plastic surgery and when viewers pushed back, Kelly defended herself, calling Fonda “Hanoi Jane,” a well-known conservative nickname for the actress and activist.
Even still, Kelly’s ratings began to improve after the host focused on gender equality and sexual harassment in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. That is, until this week, when Kelly defended white people who dress in blackface for Halloween, per the Inquisitr.
“What is racist?” Kelly said on Tuesday. “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.”
Kelly issued an apology later that day, but the next morning, the criticism continued. Craig Melvin called Kelly’s comments indefensible and Al Roker said that she owed “a bigger apology to folks of color around the country.” Kelly issued a second apology on the next morning on the Today Show.
Megyn Kelly issued an apology in an email to colleagues for a controversial comment she made on her show Tuesday about blackface. pic.twitter.com/0MJUvA1tjZ
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) October 24, 2018
Kelly reportedly won’t appear on her show on Thursday or Friday after backlash and boycotts from guests and fans. She was also dropped by her talent agency after the comments.