Megyn Kelly Apologizes for Defending Blackface

Megyn Kelly apologized Wednesday after backlash erupted following her questioning of why blackface is racist.

The 47-year-old wrote to her colleagues in an internal NBC memo copied by a company spokesperson. "One of the wonderful things about my job is that I get the chance to express and hear a lot of opinions," Kelly said. "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.

During a Megyn Kelly Today segment in which Kelly discussed offensive Halloween costumes with members of an all-white roundtable, Kelly said it was OK when she was growing up for white people to dress up as black characters.

"But what is racist?" Kelly asked. "Because you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface on 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 also spoke out against a controversy last year after Real Housewives of New York City star Luann de Lesseps dressed as Diana Ross.

"There was a controversy on The Real Housewives of New York with Luann, and she dressed as Diana Ross, and she made her skin look darker than it really is and people said that that was racist," Kelly said. "And I don't know, I felt like who doesn't love Diana Ross? She wants to look like Diana Ross for one day. I don't know how, like, that got racist on Halloween."

In her note to colleagues after the show aired, Kelly explained that her point of view on the matter has changed.

"When we had the roundtable discussion earlier today about the controversy of making your face look like a different race as part of a Halloween costume, I suggested that this seemed okay if done as part of this holiday where people have the chance to make themselves look like others," she said. "The iconic Diana Ross came up as an example. To me, I thought, why would it be controversial for someone dressing up as Diana Ross to make herself look like this amazing woman as a way of honoring and respecting her?"

"I realize now that such behavior is indeed wrong, and I am sorry," Kelly added. "The history of blackface in our culture is abhorrent; the wounds too deep."

She said she's "never been a 'pc' kind of person -- but I understand that we do need to be more sensitive in this day and age. 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. I look forward to continuing that discussion."

During Tuesday's roundtable, the panelists did not echo Kelly's sentiments.

"If you think it's offensive, it probably it," said author and TV host Melissa Rivers. "Whatever happened to just, manners and polite society?"

"But on Halloween? On Halloween you've got guys running around with fake axes coming out of their head," Kelly replied. "You're going to, it's going to be jarring."

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MSNBC correspondent Jacob Soboroff chimed in when Kelly brought up the de Lesseps controversy. "I haven't seen [the costume]. I have not seen it, but it sounds a little racist to me," he said.