It’s not news that Megyn Kelly is sharing white supremacist rhetoric on national television. She did it before when this so-called news anchor declared on Fox News that Santa and Jesus are “white,” (ignoring historical evidence declaring them Turkish and Middle Eastern.) But Kelly cooked up a fresh batch of outrage when she went onto her morning show Megyn Kelly Today and defended blackface, declaring she doesn’t get how it’s racist and concluding the segment with how “normal” such a stance is.
In the wake of this absurd, all-white panel discussion, NBC went into damage control mode. NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt covered the controversy that Tuesday night. The following morning, NBC gathered anchors of color, Al Roker, Craig Melvin, Morgan Radford and Hoda Kotb, to educate the Today audience about the blatantly racist history of blackface, which was great! Except they could have done that in the first place instead of giving Kelly a platform to spout ignorance instead of doing even a cursory Google search. From there, the show led into Kelly’s hour and her apology, which was weak but tearful, so it worked for those eager to forgive a pretty white woman. For others, Kelly’s plea for love and tolerance came off as completely self-serving, meaning, “love me anyway, because look at my pretty white lady tears! TOLERATE ME DESPITE MY PROMOTING OF DANGEROUSLY RACIST IDEOLOGY!”
But her apology will not save Megyn Kelly Today. And there are signs of a battle ahead. She has recently hired top Hollywood attorney Bryan Freedman. Kelly is no longer with her talent agency, CAA. It’s unclear if she was dumped or she quit them. But THR’s sources say she left because CAA also reps NBC News president Noah Oppenheim, and presumably she needs an agent who’ll side with her in any contract negotiations that may be brewing. And she will not appear live on her show today or tomorrow, which may be just as well since Deadline reports the House of Cards’ stars have pulled out of a planned appearance on Megyn Kelly Today, following the backlash over her racist comments. Instead, NBC is running reruns for her hour.
Megyn Kelly will not return to air this week. NBC says: "Given the circumstances, Megyn Kelly Today will be on tape the rest of the week."— John Koblin (@koblin) October 25, 2018
Megyn Kelly a no-show on @MegynTODAY this morning. No trade on the 8am hour of @TODAYshow into Megyn’s show, as they usually do. NBC is airing a repeat episode from August 31…seems to be the most random episode to air at this time…panel discussing sleep patterns. 🤔— Elizabeth Wagmeister (@EWagmeister) October 25, 2018
So is this the end of Megyn Kelly? Is she truly canceled?
Probably not. But her blackface comments may have quickened the death of Megyn Kelly Today. Ahead of Kelly’s grotesque comments, talks were already going on to end this Today travesty by end of season. Per THR’s insider, this is actually Kelly’s wish so she can focus more on news and politics. I don’t buy it. That sounds like an item planted by Kelly’s team to save face, considering WSJ reported in April that NBC’s $69 million contract with Kelly was a gamble that’s not paying off. According to The New York Times, Kelly’s segment of Today has seen a drop of almost 400,000 viewers from what the slot was before her arrival. Apparently, audiences aren’t tuning in to watch Kelly insult guests with tasteless questions and ignorant comments. And talent agents have been treating her show as a biohazard that their clients need to steer clear of. Her other NBC offering, Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly, had such dismal numbers that it was demoted to an occasional primetime special over the summer. Hours after Kelly’s TV apology, her boss, NBC News chairman Andrew Lack, addressed NBC News employees at a town hall and criticized her comments while offering no backpedaling praise of the anchor.
According to THR, Lack said:
“There is no other way to put this but I condemn those remarks, there is no place on our air or in this workplace for them. Very unfortunate… As we go forward, my highest priority remains, and as we sort through this with Megyn, let there be no doubt that this is a workplace in which you need to be proud and in which we respect each other in all the ways we know is foundational to who we are.”
Still, it’s unclear if any of this means NBC is actually dumping Kelly or if she’ll be shuffled into a new show. We don’t know what’s in her contract. We don’t know how far NBC is willing to go to defend the indefensible. (Remember: they kept Matt Lauer around for decades.) It’s possible they may shuffle her out of the spotlight for a bit then shift her into some news show just as some “insider” suggested, letting her focus on news and politics. Because a reporter who seemingly did no research before supporting a historically racist tool should be given such a platform? Hard pass.
NBC should fire Megyn Kelly. Anything less is less than their audience and her co-workers deserve.
UPDATE: People reports Megyn Kelly Today is cancelled, based on a shuffling of staff at Today. However, “Kelly has not been fired from NBC completely.”
Page Six reports Kelly and her recently acquire legal team are meeting with NBC execs tomorrow to discuss the matter. And in a bizarre twist, Kelly is requesting Ronan Farrow be present “so he can be a witness.” As far as we know, Farrow has not yet responded to this request.
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