The Today show meteorologist Al Roker wants to take a moment to explain what blackface means after his own Halloween costume received criticism in the wake of Megyn Kelly’s removal from the show, according to reports from E! Online.
Hours before last week’s cancellation of Megyn Kelly Today, due to the show’s namesake’s defense of blackface being used in Halloween costumes during a segment of the show, Kelly came out and apologized for her remarks, of which Roker was one of the toughest critics.
On Wednesday’s episode of the show, the entire cast took part in the Halloween festivities by dressing in ’80s-themed costumes. Roker took part in the event by dressing up as Doc Brown from the 1985 film Back To The Future, a character that was portrayed by a white actor. There were some comments that Roker’s choice of costume, as well as the support of it from the show, was somewhat hypocritical considering what Kelly was fired for.
In a comment on a Today show Facebook post about the day’s festivities, one user said, “Megyn Kelly loses her show because she posed a question about dressing as an admired character of color if you are of Caucasian background —and yet Al Roker dresses today as a beloved character from an iconic movie who happens to be Caucasian. Is there some hypocrisy in there?”
Roker took the time to post on Twitter with an explanation of the difference between what he wore and wearing blackface, writing on Twitter, “I’m going to say this one last time, but the folks who get it, understand and the ones who DON’T, won’t. I can be Doc Brown, and I wear the outfit and wig and not change my skin color if you’re white, you can be President Obama if you want. Just don’t color your skin!”
On the Monday and Tuesday editions of the show, Kelly’s hour was filled by Hoda Kotb and Craig Melvin. Kelly’s timeslot was previously occupied by Roker as a co-host until Kelly took over in 2017.
While Kelly has not come forward with any comment since her show’s cancellation, before things became official it was reported that she apologized to all of her co-workers through email before publicly apologizing during her show.
Roker commented on the events, saying, “The fact is, while she apologized to the staff, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color round the country. This is a history going back to the 1830s minstrel shows to demean and denigrate a race. It wasn’t right. I’m old enough to know have lived through Amos ‘n’ Andy, where you had white people in blackface playing two black characters, just magnifying the worst stereotypes about black men—and that’s what the problem is. That’s what the issue is.”