Megyn Kelly reportedly fired by NBC after blackface comment backlash hits home
It was reported that Kelly will be paid out her entire contract of $69 million unless the network can prove she has violated a clause in her contract.
Today show host Megyn Kelly has reportedly been fired by NBC following severe backlash over her controversial remarks about blackface during a segment earlier this week. According to the Daily Mail, executives at the network confirmed that Kelly is done and "is not ever coming back."
The Daily Mail claimed Kelly hired a lawyer that specializes in gender-bias contract cases. It also reported that Kelly will be paid out her entire contract of $69 million unless the network can prove she has violated a clause in her contract. The network had earlier announced Kelly's broadcast of the 'Today' show on Thursday and Friday will be replaced with pre-taped episodes after the host faced heavy criticism over her controversial remarks about racist Halloween costumes, particularly blackface.
An NBC spokesperson, while talking to PEOPLE, confirmed the news and said: "Given the circumstances, Megyn Kelly Today will be on tape the rest of the week." The news outlet initially cited a source as saying Kelly's departure from the show is expected by the end of the season in December.
Kelly issued an apology to her colleagues on Tuesday after she received backlash for defending racist Halloween gags. The journalist reportedly made the controversial remarks during a roundtable discussion on 'Megyn Kelly Today' about inappropriate Halloween costumes.
"I want to begin with two words, I'm sorry..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..Thank you for listening and for helping me listen too." Megyn Kelly pic.twitter.com/6hHrvZLNvK— Megyn Kelly TODAY (@MegynTODAY) October 24, 2018
Kelly, in an internal note, said: "One of the wonderful things about my job is that I get the chance to express and hear a lot of opinions. Today is one of those days where listening carefully to other points of view, including from friends and colleagues, is leading me to rethink my own views." Kelly, later during the discussion also brought up The Real Housewives of New York's Luann de Lesseps who was criticized last year for dressing up as Diana Ross.
"There was a controversy on The Real Housewives of New York with Luann, and she dressed as Diana Ross, and she made her skin look darker than it really is and people said that that was racist," Kelly said. "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."
Kelly, during the segment, had said when she was growing up, it was okay for white people to dress up as black characters. She also spoke out against last year's controversy over a reality star who had portrayed Ross.
"But what is racist?" Kelly asked. "Because you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface on 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."
Netflix on Wednesday also confirmed that some of the cast members and executive producers from 'House of Cards' canceled their appearance scheduled on Kelly's show on Thursday.
Kelly's comments not only sparked a backlash from social media but also from her own colleagues at NBC. Craig Melvin condemned Kelly's remarks on-air and called her comments "indefensible” as well as “ignorant and racist,” while Al Roker said that she "owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the country."