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Megyn Kelly's teary apology for defending blackface causes another controversy: 'She didn't deserve a standing ovation for apologizing'

Suzy Byrne
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

Megyn Kelly spent the first two minutes of Wednesday’s show tearfully apologizing for defending blackface — and it ended up being one of the more bizarre moments of TV we’ve seen in a long time.

After apologizing via email to her NBC colleagues for Tuesday’s comments, the Megyn Kelly Today host kicked off her show by saying sorry directly to the audience. “I want to begin with two words: I’m sorry,” she started. “You may have heard that yesterday we had a conversation about political correctness and Halloween costumes. … I defended the idea [of blackface], saying as long as it was respectful and part of a Halloween costume, it seemed OK. Well, I was wrong, and I am sorry.”

The former Fox News host went on to say, similar to her apology email, “I have never been a PC kind of person,” but that she has learned “it is not OK for [blackface] to be part of any costume, Halloween or otherwise.” She added, “This past year has been so painful for many people of color. The country feels so divided, and I have no wish to add to that pain and offense. I believe this is a time for more understanding, more love, more sensitivity and honor, and I want to be part of that. Thank you for listening and for helping me listen too.”

The camera panned out to a largely diverse audience watching Kelly’s apology from the studio, and they applauded her. But then, they started getting out of their seats to give Kelly a standing ovation. Again, for apologizing for expressing racist sentiments on television. Making it especially awkward was the length of ovation. Instead of the cameras cutting back to Kelly and getting on with the show, they just kept panning to the audience — and panning — as people slowly stood up.

GIF: Megyn Kelly Today

The standing O didn’t go unnoticed on social media, where people were confused but also angry. One person called it “white privilege personified.”


In fact, there is a whole new huge backlash to the apology. It made people “cringe.” It made stomachs “churn.” It was called “icky.”









You get the point. There were tons of these types of comments.

While Kelly’s race discussion on Tuesday was conducted with a panel of white guests, Wednesday’s group — to discuss the history of blackface — was purposely more diverse, with Roland Martin and Amy Holmes. At the conclusion of the panel, Kelly said, “For my part, I have been listening and learning, and I am grateful to both of you to have this conversation here on this set today. And to those who reached out to me via Twitter, I’ve heard you too.”

Though the mood of the show, which has been hit with constant criticism since it debuted, quickly turned in another awkward direction. That’s because actor Gary Busey was the next guest, and they were ready for some “fun.”


Meanwhile, MSNBC correspondent Jacob Soboroff, who appeared with Kelly, Melissa Rivers, and Jenna Bush Hager during Tuesday’s controversial show, finally broke his silence about the controversy on Twitter.


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