By Andrea Park CBS News October 23, 2018, 4:16 PM Megyn Kelly apologizes after defending blackface costumes on Halloween

Megyn Kelly in a 2016 file photo.


Megyn Kelly reportedly apologized to her colleagues after she appeared to defend blackface Halloween costumes on "Megyn Kelly Today" on Tuesday. In an internal email obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, she wrote about blackface costumes, "I realize now that such behavior is indeed wrong, and I am sorry. The history of blackface in our culture is abhorrent; the wounds too deep."

She also said, "I've never been a 'pc' kind of person — but I understand that we do need to be more sensitive in this day and age. Particularly on race and ethnicity issues which, far from being healed, have been exacerbated in our politics over the past year. This is a time for more understanding, love, sensitivity and honor, and I want to be part of that. I look forward to continuing that discussion."

Earlier on Tuesday, while discussing how some colleges are banning certain potentially offensive costumes, Kelly declared "political correctness has gone amok."

"I have to give you a fair warning, I'm a little fired up about Halloween costumes this morning," she said in the segment with TV personalities Jenna Bush Hager, Melissa Rivers and Jacob Soboroffwhile. "I mean, truly, political correctness has gone amok. There are strict rules on what you may and may not wear by someone who thinks is the boss of you."

Kelly added, "Isn't the whole purpose of Halloween to dress up and pretend you're someone other than yourself?"

Later, Kelly brought up the issue of blackface and wondered aloud when it became inappropriate.

"What is racist?" she asked. "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. Back when I was a kid, that was OK just as long as you were dressing as a character."

Her guests made it clear that they disagreed.

Rivers replied, "If you think it's offensive, it probably is, and one of my big complaints with society right now is whatever happened to just manners and polite society? …. Normal people kind of know where that line is."

Hager added, "I think that there are limits to how far you want to go. You're making people feel bad."

Kelly singled out the backlash against "Real Housewives of New York" star Luann de Lesseps for wearing a Diana Ross costume last year. The reality star said she was wearing tanning cream and did not intend to dress in blackface. She apologized for offending people.

"Who doesn't love Diana Ross?" Kelly asked. "She wants to look like Diana Ross for one day, and I don't know how that got racist on Halloween."

"I haven't seen it, but it sounds a little racist to me," Soboroff said.

The backlash on social media against Kelly's comments was swift.

Patton Oswalt said he learned a blackface Halloween costume was unacceptable the hard way when he was a kid.

Dear @megynkelly — you and I are approximately the same age. Blackface was NOT okay when we were kids. Take it from a big-hearted boy who just wanted to show his love for Nipsey Russell on the worst Halloween of my life.

— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) October 23, 2018

Lisa Bloom also said that blackface was never acceptable when she and Kelly were kids.

I'm older than Megyn Kelly. And no, when we were kids, it was definitely NOT OKAY for white kids to put on blackface, because even then we knew about the deep historical racism of blackface.
Appalling then, appalling now.

— Lisa Bloom (@LisaBloom) October 23, 2018

Padma Lakshmi decried Kelly's "ignorance" and called her comments "damaging."

I cannot believe the ignorance on this in 2018. You are on national television. You have a responsibility to educate yourself on social issues @megynkelly. This is so damaging.

— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) October 23, 2018

W. Kamau Bell pointed out the dissonance between Kelly's past insistence that Santa Claus is white and her comments on blackface costume.

[email protected] – "I don't get why Black face is so offensive?"


— W. Kamau Bell (@wkamaubell) October 23, 2018

Roland Martin said that having a black person on the panel would have helped Kelly understand why blackface is wrong.

Hey @megynkelly. This is where having a Black person on your panel today would have helped you. We could have explained to you and your audience the history of blackface and why it matters. Go watch Spike Lee’s “Bamboozled.” IT’S AMERICAN HISTORY. #BlackVoicesMatter

— rolandsmartin (@rolandsmartin) October 23, 2018

April Ryan also lashed out at Kelly.

Is she, @megynkelly really this ignorant to think Black Face is okay at anytime? Too much on too many different levels here to unpack. Black Face for Halloween or anyday, NO!

— AprilDRyan (@AprilDRyan) October 23, 2018