Al Roker: Megyn Kelly ‘owes a bigger apology’ to people of color

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“Today” co-host and meteorologist Al Roker sounded off on fellow NBC host Megyn Kelly’s comments about racism and blackface on Wednesday after Kelly said during her Tuesday show that wearing blackface was considered “OK” when she was young.

Commenting on the controversy Wednesday morning a little over an hour before Kelly’s show was set to air, Roker unloaded on Kelly for not yet issuing a broader apology for her remarks to people of color around the country.

{mosads}”The fact is, while she apologized to the staff, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the country,” Roker told his co-hosts. “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 and Andy,’ where you had white people in blackface playing two black characters,” Roker added, referring to the 1950s television show starring white comedians donning blackface, often for racist skits.

“[Blackface is] magnifying the worst stereotypes about black people,” Roker continued. “And that’s what the big problem is.”

Roker’s comments came after Kelly apologized to “Today” staffers for her remarks, which were made during an all-white panel discussion about whether the practice was appropriate for Halloween costumes.

“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,” she added.

But hours later, she issued an apology in the form of an email to NBC staffers.

“I am sorry,” she wrote in an email provided by NBC. “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.”

Kelly previously came under fire at Fox News for her remarks about race and racism. In 2013, a video of Kelly speaking about Christmas and Santa Claus went viral when the anchor declared that “Santa just is white. … Just because it makes you uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change. Jesus was a white man, too.”

Tags Al Roker Blackface megyn kelly NBC News Racism Today Show

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