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Megyn Kelly’s Long History Of Racial Insensitivity

Megyn Kelly on Wednesday apologized for suggesting the day before that blackface can be an acceptable part of a Halloween costume.

“I want to begin with two words: I’m sorry,” Kelly said during the first portion of her hosting time on NBC’s “Today.” 

“Sometimes I talk and sometimes I listen and yesterday, I learned,” she told her audience. “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.”

“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,” she added.  

Kelly then held a discussion with Amy Holmes and Roland Martin, two black political commentators, about race in America.

The controversy may prove to be an important empathy lesson for Kelly. Yet the former Fox News host has faced similar criticisms ever since joining NBC. Her initial appointment to “Today” displaced two black hosts ― Tamron Hall, who left the show, and Al Roker, who surrendered the third-hour slot to Kelly.

She had also just left a conservative network where she, at various times, laughed at a transgender inmate’s appearance, called the gender pay gap a “meme” and stirred more than a few controversies on racial issues.

Megyn Kelly hosts one-third of the "Today" show.


NBC via Getty Images

Megyn Kelly hosts one-third of the “Today” show.

Kelly has apologized generally for some of the things she said on Fox, telling Business Insider last year, “I regret a lot of what I said.” 

Here are a few things Kelly may be referring to:  

That time she said Santa ‘just is white.’ Jesus, too.

Kelly reacted to a 2013 Slate essay headlined “Santa Claus should not be a white man anymore” with indignation.

“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.’ And, by the way, for all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white,” she said. “But this person is 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 because someone wrote about it, kids.”

“Jesus was a white man, too,” she added. Historians believe otherwise.

Those times she asked whether white police officers killing two unarmed black men had ‘anything to do with race.’

Kelly asked, multiple times, for evidence that the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, two unarmed black man killed by white police officers, had “anything to do with race.” 

She later dismissed a Department of Justice report finding rampant racial discrimination in the Missouri police department that patrolled the neighborhood where Brown died. 

Kelly also seemed to be displeased when a black man quietly stared down a police officer during a protest over police brutality.

That time she asked whether a wave of Middle Eastern immigrants meant Europe might be ‘over.’

In 2016, Kelly hosted Soeren Kern of the Gatestone Institute, an anti-Muslim think tank, to discuss immigration in Germany as the country opened its doors to a surge of Muslim refugees.

“Is Germany over as we know it? Is Europe?” Kelly asked. Spoiler: Her guest said yes.

That time she decried a Department of Justice pledge to investigate Islamophobic threats. 

After the 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, in which a woman pledged allegiance to ISIS after murdering 14 people, then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch warned against anti-Muslim backlash. 

“I was like, ‘Oh, by the way, we do have the First Amendment,’” Kelly said in response.

That time she said a black teen manhandled by a police officer was ‘no saint, either.’

A McKinney, Texas, police officer sparked protests for pinning a 15-year-old girl to the ground at a pool party in 2015. Kelly did not defend the officer’s actions, but she said the girl was “no saint” for lingering when the officer told her to leave the scene.

That time she criticized Black Lives Matter movement for not coddling white people.

Kelly in 2015 sided with All Lives Matter, a campaign that sprang up in protest of the Black Lives Matter movement.  

“The notion,” she said of Black Lives Matter, “that you’re going to get white people to listen to the message and try to recognize the problem while you’re telling them, ‘You can’t say that your lives matter. You can’t say that you have a voice. Even saying that is irritating to us.’ Will shut people down!”

That time she said Michelle Obama was perpetuating a ‘culture of victimization.’

Obama, who was first lady at the time, spoke about racial discrimination in her 2015 commencement speech at Tuskegee University, discussing the “little indignities” she and her husband have experienced.

Kelly linked the speech to a growing “culture of victimization.” 

“I call it Cupcake Nation,” she said.

All those times she told her audience the Department of Justice wasn’t prosecuting black people for crimes.

The New Black Panther party is classified as a black nationalist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Two of its members ― one of whom held a nightstick ― stood outside a Philadelphia polling station in fatigues in 2008 until they were dispersed by police for possible voter intimidation. Voters in the district were largely black.

Kelly spent weeks using the story to push a narrative that the Department of Justice, under President Barack Obama, was not prosecuting black people for crimes. 

“Now you’re going to have instances like this where Black Panthers and others can go to the polling stations and do this if they so choose. And they just basically are gonna get a pass because while it’s not an official thing, it’s been made very clear to all the rank-and-file voting rights attorneys in the DOJ those cases are not to be pursued,” Kelly said on her show, per Slate’s Jamelle Bouie.

Kelly devoted 45 segments to the inflated scandal over a two-week period, according to Media Matters.

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