Megyn Kelly was heavily criticized on multiple networks after she said wearing blackface is “OK” on Halloween.
Al Roker was among the first to lay into his NBC colleague, 47, while covering the controversy on the Today show on Wednesday, October 24.
“The fact is, while she apologized to the staff, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the country,” the weatherman, 64, said. “This is a history going back to the 1830s — 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 and just magnifying the worst stereotypes about black people. And that’s what the big problem is.”
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
Roker’s response came one day after Kelly came under fire for her comments during a panel with Jenna Bush Hager, Jacob Soboroff and Melissa Rivers on Megyn Kelly Today.
“What is racist?” the former Fox News host asked. “You do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface for Halloween, or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. Back when I was a kid, that was OK just as long as you were dressing as a character.”
Over on ABC’s Good Morning America on Wednesday, Robin Roberts called out NBC for the “lack of diversity” on Kelly’s panel.
“If you’re going to have this discussion, perhaps you should have a more diverse panel that can challenge her when she’s making those types of statements,” Roberts, 57, said, drawing nods from her cohosts Michael Strahan and George Stephanopoulos.
Megyn Kelly's 'blackface' backlash; TV host apologizes after comments spark outrage. @paulafaris reports. https://t.co/T3gtmmd6PF pic.twitter.com/X4knQxunK4
— Good Morning America (@GMA) October 24, 2018
Kelly issued an apology to fellow NBC staffers hours after her headline-making comments, which were also denounced by Padma Lakshmi. The Top Chef host, who has appeared on multiple Today segments through the years, tweeted, “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.”
In her email, Kelly wrote, “I realize now that such behavior is indeed wrong, and I am sorry. The history of blackface in our culture is abhorrent; the wounds too deep. I’ve never been a ‘pc’ [politically correct] kind of person — but I understand that we do need to be more sensitive in this day and age.”
A visibly emotional Kelly apologized a second time on air on Wednesday morning. “The country feels so divided and I have no wish to add to that pain and offense,” she said. “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.”
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!