Megyn Kelly wonders what the big deal is about blackface pic.twitter.com/07yvYDuAYe— Tommy Christopher (@tommyxtopher) October 23, 2018
Megyn Kelly is getting a lot of backlash for her Halloween segment on Tuesday morning, where she defended blackface costumes.
Kelly gathered an all-white panel of commentators this week to talk about the yearly outrage over offensive Halloween costumes — specifically blackface and cultural appropriation. Kelly was very defensive of these costume choices, while her panelists seemed to feel differently. Once again, social media raised a collective eyebrow at the Today Show host.
“But what is racist?” Kelly asked rhetorically. “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.”
The panelists seemed to agree that in an ideal "polite society," people would generally know what was offensive, and they would listen to each other if they came to a disagreement. Kelly slid right past this point, bringing up a controversial Halloween costume from Real Housewives of New York when Luann de Lesseps dressed as Diana Ross. Kelly defended the costume despite de Lesseps' use of blackface.
“She dressed as Diana Ross and she made her skin look darker than it really is," she recalled. "And people said that was racist, and I don’t know. I thought, like, who doesn’t love Diana Ross? She wants to look like Diana Ross for one day? I don’t know how that got racist on Halloween."
“I have not seen it, but it sounds a little racist to me,” said panelist Jacob Soboroff.
“I can’t keep up with the number of people we’re offending just by being normal people,” Kelly finished. Afterward, she got some harsh criticism on Twitter, where users felt that she had spoken way out of turn on a subject she and her panel were not qualified to take on.
And, yet again we have white people discussing why blackface is offensive with no black people on panel to explain why white people JUST SHOULDN'T DO IT!— MickeyD (@Mickey_D66) October 23, 2018
“And, yet again we have white people discussing why blackface is offensive with no black people on panel to explain why white people JUST SHOULDN’T DO IT!” one person wrote.1comments
"I cannot believe the ignorance on this in 2018," added Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi. "You are on national television. You have a responsibility to educate yourself on social issues @megynkelly. This is so damaging."
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. //t.co/R7UJzkDDG9 //t.co/7qFkqGHfGJ— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) October 23, 2018
Many people also pointed to Kelly's repeated fury over Santa Claus being represented as black, which was taken as ironic in the face of Tuesday's discussion. Kelly still has yet to respond to the controversy.