This Is Scary: Megyn Kelly Says ‘Blackface Was OK’ for Halloween in Her Childhood [Updated]

Megyn Kelly speaks onstage at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit 2018 on Oct. 2, 2018 in Laguna Niguel, California.
Megyn Kelly speaks onstage at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit 2018 on Oct. 2, 2018 in Laguna Niguel, California.
Photo: Phillip Faraone (Getty Images for Fortune)

Can somebody keep Megyn Kelly from weighing in on holidays? After all, this is the woman who, while an anchor at Fox News, insisted Santa is and could only ever be white—and that the same is true of Jesus. Now, the Wicked Witch of NBC is unleashing new horrors upon us, just in time for Halloween.


On the Tuesday morning episode of her talk show, Megyn Kelly TODAY, Kelly once again showed her complete ass lack of cultural awareness when she claimed blackface had once been “OK” when she was younger.

As reported by the Hill, during a segment on universities doing due diligence to prevent “inappropriate and offensive” costumes this Halloween, Kelly questioned whether blackface on Halloween is actually racist.

“But what is racist?” she asked. “Because truly ... 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.”

First of all, this just lets me know that Megyn didn’t have any black friends growing up (and likely still doesn’t), because we’re only a few years apart in age, and I could’ve told her that wasn’t okay then. (That said, we also both hail from Illinois and her hometown is known to be in the historically deeply racist part.) Thankfully, a white person was there to tell her how inaccurate she was.


Kelly went on to make false equivalencies to “jarring” Halloween costumes, like fake axes embedded in heads, all but ignoring guest panelist Melissa Rivers’ comment that “if you think it’s offensive, it probably is.”

But just to double—no, triple—down on the tone-deafness, Kelly went on to reference Real Housewives of New York cast member Luann de Lesseps’s ill-advised Diana Ross costume last Halloween, which involved an obscene amount of bronzer and a sky-high afro wig that in no way resembled Ross’ trademark mane.


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

Kelly’s other two (white) guests, Jenna Bush Hager (daughter of former President George W. Bush) and NBC News reporter Jacob Soboroff, disagreed with Kelly’s assertion, with Soboroff saying “I have not seen it, but it sounds a little racist to me.”


But still, Kelly persisted. “I can’t keep up with the number of people that we’re offending just by being normal people,” she countered, as the dog whistles blew loudly in the background.

Because there it is: “normal people.” To those as deeply entrenched in the privilege and casual racism as Kelly has repeatedly demonstrated she is, “normal people” is code for “white people.” Because only a white person who believes it their divine right to declare the color of Jesus would have the audacity to suggest those who are offended by blackface aren’t “normal.” Not to mention the entirely unequal power dynamic of suggesting that a black person choosing to dress as, say, Atlanta’s “Teddy Perkins” (a character modeled on Michael Jackson, which would technically make him black) or the whitefacedTobias” (also black), is the same as a white person dressing in blackface or as a Nazi.


No one with Kelly’s credentials should be this stupid. Personally, I don’t believe she is. But I guess, like racism, stupid is as stupid does. NBC News did not immediately respond to the Hill’s request for comment.

Updated: Oct. 23, 2018, 4:07 p.m., EDT: According to the Hollywood Reporter, in an internal email to colleagues, Kelly has apologized for her inflammatory on-air remarks, acknowledging, in part, that her words “suggested that this seemed okay if done as part of this holiday where people have the chance to make themselves look like others.” She went on to say, “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.”


Kelly also stated that 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.”


Here’s hoping she also issues an apology to her television audience.

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, co-host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door...May I borrow some sugar?


Nina Lemone

Reminder that NBC dropped Tamron Hall for this dizzy Becky.