Megyn Kelly wants to know what’s so wrong with a little tasteful blackface?
In a segment titled “HALLOWEEN COSTUME CRACKDOWN” that aired Tuesday on NBC News, Kelly — who once got extremely offended by the idea that Santa Claus wasn’t white — put on her best Jerry Seinfeld impression to ask what's the deal with everyone getting so offended by blackface.
“What is racist?” Kelly asked. “When I was a kid, that was OK, as long you were dressing up as, like, a character.”
And bless their hearts, Kelly’s panel of all-white co-hosts — made up of Jenna Bush Hager, NBC correspondent Jacob Soboroff, and Melissa Rivers — tried to explain to Kelly that there are probably better hills to die on than the one where you defend blackface.
“If you think it’s offensive, it probably is,” Melissa Rivers said. ”Whatever happened to manners and polite society?”
“On Halloween?!” Kelly responded. “You have guys running around with fake axes coming out of their heads! Like, it’s gonna be jarring!”
But Kelly wasn’t finished, going on to defend Countess Luann de Lesseps, a cast member of the “Real Housewives of New York” who was accused of racism after darkening her skin for a Diana Ross Halloween costume.
“She dressed as Diana Ross, and she made her skin look darker than it really is,” Kelly said in a tone that suggested she believes this is a perfectly normal thing for a person to do. “And people said that that was racist! 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.”
“I have not seen that, but it sounds a little racist to me,” Soboroff said.
Blackface was popularized in the mid-19th century in the U.S. by minstrel performers. It has historically been used by predominantly white people to dehumanize black people.
Cover image: Megyn Kelly on Wednesday, August 22, 2018 (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)