Megyn Kelly is out at NBC after backlash over blackface comments

NBC/Megyn Kelly TodayMegyn Kelly has been at NBC since she left Fox News in January 2017.
  • Megyn Kelly is departing NBC after defending blackface during a Halloween segment on “Megyn Kelly Today,” the network confirmed on Friday.
  • Kelly’s comments on Tuesday, for which she later apologised, attracted widespread criticism throughout the week.

Megyn Kelly is departing NBC after defending blackface during a Halloween segment on “Megyn Kelly Today” earlier this week, the network confirmed on Friday.

“Megyn Kelly is done. She is not ever coming back,” an NBC executive familiar with the situation told the Daily Mail earlier this week. “We are just working out timing of the announcement but mark my word – she is gone and will never be seen on NBC live again.”

A source familiar with the matter also previously confirmed to the New York Post’s Page Six that Kelly was out at NBC.

The “Today” show on Friday morning reported Kelly was in talks with the network about her “imminent departure.”

Subsequently, NBC said in a statement it had cancelled Kelly’s show.

“Megyn Kelly Today is not returning,” a spokesperson said in the statement. “Next week, the 9 a.m. hour will be hosted by other TODAY co-anchors.”

Kelly defended blackface during a segment on Tuesday.

“But what is racist?” she asked a panel on her show. “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. That was OK when I was a kid, as long as you were dressing like a character.”

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Kelly went on to apologise for the comments, but she continued to face a slew of criticism.

“I realise now that such behaviour is indeed wrong, and I am sorry,” Kelly wrote in an email to colleagues. “The history of blackface in our culture is abhorrent; the wounds too deep.”

In an emotional monologue to open her show Wednesday, Kelly gave an extended apology, saying “I was wrong and I am sorry.” She added:

“I have never been a PC kind of person, but I do understand the value in being sensitive to our history, particularly on race and ethnicity. This past year has been so painful for many people of colour. The country feels so divided. And I have no wish to add to that pain and offence. I believe this is a time for more understanding, more love, more sensitivity, and honour. And I want to be part of that. Thank you for listening and for helping me listen, too.”

NBC’s chairman, Andy Lack, decried Kelly during a town-hall meeting on Wednesday.

“There is no other way to put this, but I condemn those remarks,” Lack said, according to a transcript obtained by The Daily Beast. “There is no place on our air or in this workplace for them. Very unfortunate.”

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Kelly’s NBC colleague Al Roker expressed similar sentiments on Wednesday, saying: “While she apologised to the staff, she owes a bigger apology to folks of colour around the country because this is a history going back to the 1830s. Minstrel shows to demean and denigrate a race wasn’t right.”

Kelly, one of the most recognisable faces in media, has made racially charged comments in the past. In 2013, she insisted both Santa Claus and Jesus Christ were white.

“Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change,” she said on Fox News at the time.

NBC reportedly agreed to pay Kelly $US69 million over three years to help lure her from Fox News. It’s unclear how much of that contract she now stands to lose.

NBC didn’t immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

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