Megyn Kelly Is Still Trying to Insert Herself Into Conversations About Blackface
Thanks to the Doolittle press tour, discussion of Robert Downey Jr.’s character’s use of blackface in 2008’s Tropic Thunder has been making the rounds again. And now Megyn Kelly of all people has jumped into the conversation to let us all know just how wildly she missed the entire point.
Here’s what Kelly tweeted Wednesday evening:
R. Downey Jr: wears blackface for Universal w/o regret bc it “sparked a necessary convo.” Univer.: yay Robert!👏🏻
Me: Never worn blackface but had one of those “necessary convos” re how standard seems to have changed over time.NBC-Univer: F.U.! Cancelled! https://t.co/t1uIj6chPJ
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) January 23, 2020
Where to even start with this one? Maybe with the easy and obvious bit–that Kelly’s version of being “cancelled” was to receive a $69 million pay-out. We should all be so lucky to be cancelled.
I’ve been saying dumb shit for years for free so I’m obviously the sucker here.
— Maggie Serota (@maggieserota) January 23, 2020
The big issue here is that Kelly clearly doesn’t understand the point of Tropic Thunder’s use of blackface. It was parody and a commentary on, as Downey himself recently said, “the insane, self-involved hypocrisy of artists and what they think they’re allowed to do on occasion.”
Kelly, on the other hand, is basically the embodiment of what that movie was satirizing with the character. This is Megyn “Jesus Was White” Kelly, who built a career adding fuel to the racism fires of Fox News, insisting that she get to be at the center of a conversation she doesn’t understand.
The Black face was satirical. Very specifically making fun of Hollywood actors who go to extremes, berate cast and crew, and are viewed as heroes despite being vile humans. Gotta watch for context, Megyn. Be a critical thinker. https://t.co/g6MtFBSNKz
— Joelle Monique ✍🏾 (@JoelleMonique) January 23, 2020
Back in 2018, Kelly tried to lead a conversation with three other white people about how our perception of racism regarding things like blackface and appropriative Halloween costumes has changed over time. “When I was a kid, [blackface] was okay, as long as you were dressing up as like a character,” she insisted, never questioning to whom it was okay.
Unsurprisingly, consideration for the opinion of Black people is still missing from her self-reflection. Her tweet is only about Universal’s reaction to blackface and how their shared parent company praised Downey and “cancelled” her. Robert Downey Jr.’s cringey my Black friends were okay with it response was bad enough, but Megyn Kelly still doesn’t even think to remember the existence of Black people, even in conversations about racism.
If she did, she might realize that RDJ may have gotten a big paycheck from Universal and an Oscar nomination from the overwhelmingly white Academy, but when Tropic Thunder came out, there was (and still is!) a lot of disagreement over Downey’s character among audiences, critics, and activists.
The movie is deeply imperfect, and a lot of people, especially Black people, have different opinions on the use of blackface. However, Downey—despite, I’m sure, meaning well—is simply not the right person to lead this conversation. He does not have the range, and that’s okay.
As usual, though, Megyn Kelly only tunes into the parts of conversations that serve her narrative best and ignores everything else. Talk about not having the range.
(image: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Fortune)
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