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Megyn Kelly’s History of Insensitivity

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NBC News anchor Megan Kelly is off the air after she defended her blackface comment, but this isn’t the only time she’s been accused of insensitivity.

Kelly made an insensitive comment on her show “Megyn Kelly Today” on Tuesday during a roundtable discussion about what costumes could be considered offensive and inappropriate. During the segment, Kelly mentioned that when she was growing up, it was okay for white individuals to dress up as black characters.

“But what is racist?” Kelly asked. “Because you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface on Halloween, or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. Back when I was a kid that was okay as long as you were dressing up as, like, a character.”

Sometime later, she brought up the controversy that surrounded “The Real Housewives of New York” star Luann de Lesseps, who dressed up as Diana Ross last year. Kelly claimed that Lesseps had altered her skin color to make it darker, which Lesseps denies, and people said it was a racist move. “And I don’t know, I felt like who doesn’t love Diana Ross? She wants to look like Diana Ross for one day. I don’t know how, like, that got racist on Halloween.”

Needless to say, Kelly’s comments were not given a kind response. Though she apologized a day later, NBC made the decision Friday to pull the plug on Kelly’s show, stating that the 9 a.m. slot will be hosted by other TODAY co-anchors starting next week.

From accusing former President Barack Obama of not prosecuting black people for crimes to suggesting that Germany would lose it luster for allowing a surge of Muslim refugees, Kelly has often been at the center of controversy for making clearly biased remarks. The TV host’s faux pas rap sheet is basically a Christmas list of things that nobody wants. Here are some of the worst moments of Kelly’s career:

 

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The Jane Fonda Interview Disaster

In September 2017, Kelly interviewed the long-time actress, who was promoting her Netflix film, “Our Souls at Night.” Things got awkward when Kelly asked the then 79-year-old about work she has had done with plastic surgery. “You’ve been an example to everyone in how to age beautifully and with strength and unapologetically,” Kelly said. “You admit you’ve had work done, which is to your credit. I read that you said you’re not proud to admit that you’ve had work done. Why not?”

In response to the question, Fonda gave Kelly a cynical look and a question of her own: “We really want to talk about that now?” The actress would go on to complain about Kelly’s lack of decorum in future interviews. Though Kelly admitted her error, that didn’t stop her from doubling down on it.

“It’s time to address the poor-me routine,” Kelly said. “First, some context. Fonda was on to promote a film about aging. For years, she has spoken openly about her joy in giving a cultural face to older women.”

The “Will & Grace” Superfan Segment

That very same month, Kelly hosted the cast members of “Will & Grace” before the revival premiered.  During the show, the TV host invited a superfan to meet the cast and share his story about how the show impacted him, as it did for many LGBTQ viewers. She proceeded to ask a very insensitive question: “Is it true that you became a lawyer and you became gay because of Will?” She then added, “I don’t know about the lawyer thing, but I think the Will and Grace and the gay thing are going to work out great.”

Not surprising, many found Kelly’s remarks to be horrendous and called her out on it:

Even Debra Messing, who portrays Grace Adler on the show, commented on Instagram that she regretted being on the segment after hearing Kelly’s in appropriate remarks.

The “Santa and Jesus are White” Incident

Another occurrence having to do with skin color happened back in December 2013 when Kelly worked for Fox News with her show “The Kelly File,” probably the one of the most infamous moments of her career. The TV host took a shot at a 2013 Slate piece titled, “Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore,” calling it “ridiculous” and saying that it was just “another person claiming it’s racist to have a white Santa.”

She made things worse when she decided to address any children watching her show at that very moment. “For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white,” Kelly said. “Jesus was a white man, too. He’s a historical figure that’s a verifiable fact, as is Santa. I just want kids to know that.” She was accused of teaching young kids it’s okay to be racist and, though she apparently regretted her words, as she told Business Insider during a November 2017 interview regarding the comments, it would be an understatement to say she hasn’t learned at all.

Argument with D.L. Hughley About Police Shootings

In July 2016, three years after the Santa mishap, Kelly invited Hughley, an actor and activist, to discuss race relations on a “The Kelly File” segment. During the show, Kelly shocked Hughley with her comments about Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager, being the alleged aggressor when he was fatally shot by police back in August 2014 and told the actor, “Don’t ‘wow’ me.”

Hughley, who was visibly upset during the exchange, responded with, “Don’t tell me not to ‘wow’ you. I can say ‘wow’ if I want to.” Things escalated as the two bickered back and forth about who was at fault for the shooting.

On Thursday, Hughley gave his two cents about Kelly’s latest screw up, tweeting:

It’s unclear what Kelly’s future is at NBC, if she has one at all.

 

 

 

Jessica Baker

Jessica Baker is a Journalism and Emerging Media major at KSU and an intern at Hers Magazine as well as AllWrite Publishing.

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