NBC News host Megyn Kelly issued a nearly tearful apology on Wednesday in response to backlash from comments she made a day earlier on her show in which she defended the idea of someone wearing blackface for a Halloween costume, the latest in a series of controversies that have dogged her show at the Peacock Network.
“I want to begin with two words, I’m sorry …” Kelly began at the outset of Wednesday’s edition of her show, her eyes filling with tears. “You may have heard that yesterday we had a discussion here about political correctness and Halloween costumes. And that conversation turned to whether it is ever OK for a person of one race to dress up as another — a black person making their face lighter, a white person making theirs darker to make a costume complete. I defended the idea saying as long as it was respectful, and part of a Halloween costume, it seemed OK. Well, I was wrong and I am sorry,” Kelly said, citing the ugly history of racists using blackface to demean African Americans as something she’s learned about since making her remarks.
“The country feels so divided and I have no wish to add to that pain and offense. I believe this is a time for more understanding, more love, more sensitivity and honor. Thank you for listening and for helping me listen too,” she said, drawing an extended round of applause from the live studio audience, many of whom were people of color. Watch the apology below.
Kelly’s remarks came during a roundtable discussion with NBC’s Jenna Bush Hager and Jacob Soboroff and TV host Melissa Rivers, whose known for her expertise in fashion. An uproar followed swiftly as clips of Kelly’s remarks went viral on social media Tuesday. According to CNN, Kelly’s NBC colleagues denounced her comments, with Craig Melvin saying they were “stupid” and “indefensible” and Al Roker saying that Kelly ” owes a bigger apology to folks of color across the country.” That apology came loud and clear a day later. Watch the clip of the initial conversation that ignited controversy below.