Less than 48 hours after Megyn Kelly’s controversial blackface remarks wherein she appeared to feign ignorance about why it was such a big deal for folks to wear blackface as part of their Halloween costumes, NBC has reportedly decided to pull the plug on her show according to People, something multiple sources have told the publication since this controversy began. Additionally, Page Six reported late on Thursday afternoon that NBC has ousted Kelly from the network too.
“They’re contacting the staff and reassigning everyone today. Everyone’s being told that they still have a home here [on NBC], but it won’t be on Megyn’s show,” one source said. “They haven’t made an official announcement about the show, but everyone knows what it means when they’re being moved somewhere else. The show is clearly over.”
That said, Kelly’s future with the network remains unclear. Two additional sources told People the former Fox News anchor has not been fired. However, they also noted that her 9 a.m. show “is most likely over.”
The controversy began on Tuesday when Kelly, Jenna Bush Hager, Jacob Soboroff and Melissa Rivers were discussing “inappropriate and offensive [Halloween] costumes.” During the roundtable conversation, Kelly questioned whether wearing blackface as part of a Halloween costume is actually racist.
“What [about blackface] is racist?” Kelly asked. “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 whiteface for Halloween. Back when I was a kid, that was OK as long as you were dressing up as, like, a character.”
Kelly’s comments immediately drew criticism. Lester Holt ran a segment about Kelly on the Nightly News. NBC News chief Andy Lack condemned Kelly’s remarks at an NBC town hall, saying, “[T]here is no place on our air or in this workplace for… [those remarks].” And on Wednesday, Al Roker said that she “owe[d] a bigger apology to folks of color around the country.”
Kelly did offer that apology a few hours later. “I want to begin with two words, I’m sorry,” Kelly said on Megyn Kelly Today. “[I] defended the idea [of blackface,] saying as long as it was respectful and part of a Halloween costume, it seemed OK. Well, 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 learnt. I learned that 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.”
However, the damage was already done.
It appears it was too little, too late.
But it appears Kelly isn’t going to go down without a fight. According to Variety, Kelly has hired Bryan Freedman, a top Hollywood litigator from the Los Angeles-based law firm Freedman & Taitelman, to defend her interests and assets.
And while we do not know what will come next for Kelly or NBC, we do know Kelly’s remarks have sparked an uncomfortable but important conversation about cultural appropriation and racial insensitivity.