Megyn Kelly’s blackface comments have not only made her the laughingstock of her network, but they look to be leading towards her unemployment. The NBC morning show host, according to The Hollywood Reporter, is expected to wind down her 9 a.m. Today Show hour by the end of the season. According to The Hill, Kelly will not appear on her NBC show today, and the exit negotiations are underway because of this and other issues that have existed around the show. (Probably involving it being bad.)
From the beginning, Megyn Kelly’s stint on NBC has been a mixed bag, because despite having trash opinions for a very long time, she was a TV news and politics journalist sentenced to the world of daytime television where everything is politics-lite with some softball stories. She got a huge payday out of it; her reported salary was $23 million a year for three years, equaling $69 million, which people found an issue from the beginning. Plus, people who’ve watched the show have always commented that she seemed bored, which I believe, because overall, her show seems boring.
What I will say is that it’s funny that NBC/ABC and all these networks want to hire people who have played themselves publicly in the media before, especially around racial issues, yet when they do it again, we must all suddenly act shocked and appalled. I’m not shocked that Megyn Kelly, a 47-year-old white woman from a super white area, who used to work for Fox News, had a conversation about blackface with an all-white panel—an all-white panel that all looked at her like she had four heads as she tried to defend blackface.
As Al Roker said following Kelly’s “apology,” the apology wasn’t good enough because someone who claims to be a journalist should know better than to express such views on television and try to use dog-whistle terms like “politically correct” to hand-wave the underlying issues.
“The fact is, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the county,” he said, as reported by The Hill. “This is a history, going back to the 1830s [with] minstrel shows. To demean and denigrate a race wasn’t right. I’m old enough to have lived through Amos ‘n’ Andy where you had white people in blackface playing two black characters just magnifying the stereotypes about black people. And that’s what the big problem is. … No good comes from it. It’s just not right.”
But of course, Megyn Kelly wouldn’t care about that, because she has a long history of saying really terrible race-related things, saying sexist things when it was convenient to do so (i.e. when it wasn’t about her or her experiences), and the occasional dash of homophobia. Let’s not forget the moment she wanted to clarify, for the kids watching at home, that Santa and Jesus were definitely white.
“When I saw this headline I kind of laughed, and I said, ‘This is so ridiculous. Yet another person claiming it’s racist to have a white Santa,’ ” Kelly, then a Fox News personality, said at the time. “And by the way, for all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white. But this person is just arguing that maybe we should also have a black Santa, but Santa is what he is, and just so you know, we’re just debating this ’cause someone wrote about it, kids.”
“Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change,” added Kelly later. “Jesus was a white man, too… He was a historical figure, that’s a verifiable fact, as is Santa. I just want the kids watching to know that.”
That last part about Jesus really gets me, because if you are going to bring history into it, please let me know how a pre-colonial Middle Eastern man was white? Nothing screams fragility more than having to reassure “kids at home” that, don’t worry, your savior does not look like a brown man, and you can continue to be prejudiced against brown people who probably looked like Jesus. Oh yeah, and Santa? White as snow—you know black people hate the cold lol.
Do I, as a black woman, care if Santa is white or black? No, because he’s not real person. However, the fact that Saint Nicholas of Myra was from what would be considered modern day Turkey is important in a historical context, and so is highlighting racist church institutions’ whitewashing problem, but we don’t mean horrible brown people are trying to take away your white Santa.
Look, I make mistakes all the time, as many of you lovely people know, but I do try to learn from them, especially because I have a platform, and I want to do my best with it. Megyn Kelly has shown to be allergic to growth, and if she doesn’t want to work at NBC anymore, then she’s got her wish. I’d love to consider this a victory, but she’s going to walk out with a check and more job offers somewhere else.
(via CNN, image: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Fortune)
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