Daytime talk show host Megyn Kelly seemed perplexed as to why wearing blackface on Halloween might be an issue, and people slammed her on Twitter as a result.
On Tuesday, a conversation about Halloween costumes on “Megyn Kelly Today” stirred controversy when the discussion veered off into a debate about costume censorship.
Earlier in the segment, the talk show host asked guests Jacob Soboroff, Melissa Rivers, and Jenna Bush Hager, if wearing blackface as apart of a costume is racist. Kelly said:
“Because truly you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface at Halloween or a black person who puts on white face for Halloween.
Back when I was a kid, that was okay as long as you were dressing up as like a character.”
Watch a clip of the segment below:
Megyn Kelly wonders what the big deal is about blackface pic.twitter.com/07yvYDuAYe
— Tommy Xtophernobyl (@tommyxtopher) October 23, 2018
She pointed out the criticism surrounding “The Real Housewives of New York” star Luann de Lesseps’ costume last year.
The “Housewife” dressed as Diana Ross and some found it offensive.
Kelly said on the show:
“There was a controversy on ‘The Real Housewives of New York’ with Luann, as she dressed as Diana Ross, and she made her skin look darker than it really is, and people said that that was racist.”
And I thought, ‘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. It’s not like she’s walking around (like that) in general.”
Comedian Patton Oswalt later took to Twitter to fire back at the 47-year-old host.
Dear @megynkelly — you and I are approximately the same age. Blackface was NOT okay when we were kids. Take it from a big-hearted boy who just wanted to show his love for Nipsey Russell on the worst Halloween of my life. https://t.co/pnsk0WmuTw
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) October 23, 2018
Dear @megynkelly — you and I are approximately the same age. Blackface was NOT okay when we were kids. Take it from a big-hearted boy who just wanted to show his love for Nipsey Russell on the worst Halloween of my life.
And a wave of social media users weighed in on the discussion as well.
Bravo “Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi called her comment, ignorant.
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. https://t.co/R7UJzkDDG9 https://t.co/7qFkqGHfGJ
— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) October 23, 2018
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.
However, as one Twitter commenter said, last Halloween she wore bronzer and dressed as Beyonce, and her black friend lightened her skin with makeup to dress as the musician Sia.
Respectfully, I don't think she was talking about using shoe polish and mocking anyone. Last Halloween I went out as my fav celebrity – Beyonce. I wore some bronzer. One of my black friends went as Sia. She had light makeup on. Its all about intent.
— Deena Gregory (@MusicFansUnite) October 23, 2018
As previously reported by Dearly, Halloween is filled with opportunities for cultural appropriation missteps.
While reps for Kelly did not immediately respond to People‘s request for comment, an email she sent to her colleagues has been made public.
She reportedly wrote:
“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. I’ve 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.”