Megyn Kelly: Blackface ‘was OK’ for Halloween when I was a kid

NBC host Megyn Kelly questioned whether the use of blackface on Halloween is racist during her program on Tuesday.

“But what is racist?” Kelly said Tuesday morning. “You truly do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface at Halloween or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween.” 

“Back when I was a kid, that was OK, as long as you were dressing up as, like, a character,” Kelly continued.

{mosads}Kelly then referenced TV personality Luann de Lesseps’s decision to dress as Diana Ross with what appeared to be darker makeup during a premiere of “The Real Housewives of New York” earlier this year.

De Lesseps immediately drew criticism for the look, which many perceived to be blackface, and issued an apology.

“I was being an impersonator for Halloween. I didn’t mean to offend anyone by being Diana Ross for Halloween, it just didn’t even kind of enter my mind … I wasn’t at all worried about that, and all of a sudden it became a thing,” de Lesseps said at the time.

“People said that was racist and I don’t know, I felt like, who doesn’t love Diana Ross? She wanted to look like Diana Ross for one day. I don’t know how that got racist on Halloween,” Kelly said Tuesday.

Guest panelist Jacob Soboroff, a reporter for NBC News responded that he hadn’t seen de Lesseps’s impersonation of Ross, but added, “It sounds a little racist to me.” 

Jenna Bush Hager, former President George W. Bush’s daughter, said she also thought the impersonation sounded racist.

“I can’t keep up with the number of people that we’re offending just by being normal people,” Kelly went on.

Kelly later apologized to her colleagues for her remarks in an internal letter obtained by The Hill.

“Today is one of those days where listening carefully to other points of view, including from friends and colleagues, is leading me to rethink my own views,” she 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’ kind of person — but I understand that we do need to be more sensitive in this day and age,” she added. “Particularly on race and ethnicity issues which, far from being healed, have been exacerbated in our politics over the past year. This is a time for more understanding, love, sensitivity and honor, and I want to be part of that.”

Kelly has stoked controversy for her views on race before. In 2013, the then-Fox News host drew criticism after she declared on television that Santa Claus and Jesus were both white.

— Updated at 4 p.m.

Tags Blackface Halloween Megyn Kelly

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