NBC host Megyn Kelly questioned whether the use of blackface on Halloween is racist during her program on Tuesday.
“But what is racist?” Kelly said Tuesday morning. “You truly do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface at Halloween or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween.”
“Back when I was a kid, that was OK, as long as you were dressing up as like a character,” Kelly continued.
Kelly then referenced TV personality Luann de Lesseps’s decision to dress as Diana Ross with what appeared to be darker makeup during a premiere of “The Real Housewives of New York” earlier this year.
De Lesseps immediately drew criticism for the look, which many perceived to be blackface, and issued an apology.
“I was being an impersonator for Halloween. I didn’t mean to offend anyone by being Diana Ross for Halloween, it just didn’t even kind of enter my mind … I wasn’t at all worried about that, and all of a sudden it became a thing,” de Lesseps said at the time.
“People said that was racist and I don’t know, I felt like, who doesn’t love Diana Ross? She wanted to look like Diana Ross for one day. I don’t know how that got racist on Halloween,” Kelly said Tuesday.
Guest panelist Jacob Soboroff, a reporter for NBC News responded that he hadn’t seen de Lesseps’s impersonation of Ross, but added, “It sounds a little racist to me.”
Jenna Bush Hager, former President George W. Bush’s daughter, said she also thought the impersonation sounded racist.
“I can’t keep up with the number of people that we’re offending just by being normal people,” Kelly went on.
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. https://t.co/R7UJzkDDG9 https://t.co/7qFkqGHfGJ
— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) October 23, 2018