An emotional Megyn Kelly began her program Wednesday morning by reading a prepared apology for her comments the previous day defending blackface Halloween costumes.
“I’m Megyn Kelly. And I want to begin with two words — I’m sorry,” the Megyn Kelly Today host said as she fought back 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 or a white person making theirs darker… I defended the idea.”
She added: “I was wrong and I am sorry. One of the great parts of sitting in this chair each day is getting to discuss different points of view. Sometimes I talk and sometimes I listen, and yesterday I learned. I learned given the history of blackface being used in awful ways by racists in this country, it is not OK for that to be part of any costume, Halloween or otherwise.”
Kelly then repeated the statement she made a day earlier in an apology email sent to her NBC colleagues.
“I have never been a PC kind of person, but I do understand the value in being sensitive to our history, particularly on race and ethnicity,” she said Wednesday morning. “This past year has been so painful for many people of color. The country feels so divided. And I have no wish to add to that pain and offense.”
"I want to begin with two words, I'm sorry..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." Megyn Kelly pic.twitter.com/6hHrvZLNvK
— Megyn Kelly TODAY (@MegynTODAY) October 24, 2018
The newscaster’s comments came after she sparked criticism for defending blackface costumes, saying she doesn’t think they’re racist.
“But what is racist?” the journalist asked her guest panelists during Tuesday’s broadcast. “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,” she added.
Critics noted the lack of diversity on her show during the blackface discussion when Kelly was joined by all white guest panelists, including Jenna Bush Hager, NBC correspondent Jacob Soboroff and television personality Melissa Rivers.
A day later, the dynamic of the show changed as Kelly sat down for a discussion on race with African-American panelists Roland Martin and Amy Holmes, co-host of PBS’ In Principle.
Earlier in the day, Kelly’s NBC colleague, Al Roker, also addressed the controversy.
“The fact is, while she apologized to the staff, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the country because this is our history, going back to the 1830s,” Roker stated during a segment on the Today show.
On Tuesday evening, NBC Nightly News also ran a story on the controversy.