Megyn Kelly publicly condemned by Al Roker, NBC colleagues over blackface comments
"The fact is while she apologized to the staff, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the country."
Megyn Kelly's colleagues on NBC and the Today show didn't hold back in denouncing comments she made on Tuesday about wearing blackface on Halloween.
Kelly, who replaced Temple graduate Tamron Hall back in June 2017, ignited a firestorm of criticism by questioning why people would consider a white person dressing up as a black character racist.
"You do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface for Halloween, or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween," Kelly said. "Back when I was a kid, that was okay just as long as you were dressing as a character."
The outcry led Kelly to send an apology to NBC News staffers Tuesday afternoon, in which she said the response to her comments "is leading me to rethink my own views." But at least one prominent Today show host wasn't satisfied with Kelly's apology.
"The fact is while she apologized to the staff, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the country," Al Roker, the lovable weatherman who has appeared on the Today show for nearly 30 years, said on Wednesday's show.
"I'm old enough to have lived through Amos 'n' Andy, where you had white people in back face playing two black characters, just magnifying the worst stereotypes about black people," Roker said. "And that's what the big problem is."
Today show colleague Craig Melvin, who referred to Kelly as a friend, said, "she said something stupid, something indefensible."
"There was some criticism yesterday online that this was political correctness run amok. That's silly, and it's disingenuous and it's just as ignorant and racist as the statement itself," Melvin said.
"I haven't seen anything quite like this on a morning show before," wrote CNN's Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter.
Following the on-air condemnation of her colleague, Kelly offered a teary-eyed apology for her comments about blackface, saying, "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."
Kelly's hiring last year was controversial, in part because of her history of questionable comments on race and social issues dating back to her time as a Fox News host.
In 2013, Kelly declared that "Santa is just white" and "just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn't mean it has to change." She also added that "Jesus was a white man, too." In September 2015, she questioned whether "black communities, in the inner cities" valued education, marriage, and employment.