Halloween is that time of year when otherwise intelligent white people convince themselves that wearing blackface is ok, and now we can officially add TV host Megyn Kelly to that list of the woefully mistaken.
Tuesday, the NBC daytime host surprised her viewers after she naïvely questioned whether the use of blackface on Halloween is really racist.
“But what is racist?” Kelly pondered on Megyn Kelly Today to a panel that included Jenna Bush Hager, Jacob Soboroff and Melissa Rivers. “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,” Kelly continued.
Kelly then cited reality star Luann de Lesseps who decided to dress as Diana Ross with what appeared to be dark bronzer during the current season’s premiere of “The Real Housewives of New York.”
De Lesseps was criticized for skirting the lines of blackface and issued an apology, stating, “I was being an impersonator for Halloween. I didn’t mean to offend anyone by being Diana Ross for Halloween, it just didn’t even kind of enter my mind … I wasn’t at all worried about that, and all of a sudden it became a thing.”
“People said that was racist and I don’t know, I felt like, who doesn’t love Diana Ross?” Kelly said, echoing De Lesseps confusion. “She wanted to look like Diana Ross for one day. I don’t know how that got racist on Halloween.”
Megyn Kelly wonders what the big deal is about blackface pic.twitter.com/07yvYDuAYe
— Tommy Christopher (@tommyxtopher) October 23, 2018
“It sounds a little racist to me,” Guest panelist Jacob Soboroff pointed out.
Former President George W. Bush’s daughter, Jenna Bush Hager, also said she thought the impersonation felt racist.
“I can’t keep up with the number of people that we’re offending just by being normal people,” an outnumbered Kelly quipped.
Not surprisingly, fans and celebrities alike took to social media to school the Kelly on what is beginning to look like an ongoing blindspot. She was similarly called out in 2013 while anchoring on Fox News Channel, after she told viewers that “Santa is just white,” and so is Jesus.
.@megynkelly – "I don't get why Black face is so offensive?"
— W. Kamau Bell (@wkamaubell) October 23, 2018
Because @megynkelly: minstrelsy is the basis for the coining of the term "Jim Crow" laws which served to humiliate & target Black Americans. Because caricaturing another race perpetuates the dehumanization of POC who are being killed & jailed at a disproportionate rate in the US https://t.co/xk2RAr2Kxq
— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) October 23, 2018
Jenna Bush's face when Megyn Kelly said she was cool w blackface pic.twitter.com/mfdGvK1vo3
— Stephanie McNeal (@stephemcneal) 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. https://t.co/pnsk0WmuTw
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) October 23, 2018