NBC is reportedly poised to fire host Megyn Kelly after she questioned on air Tuesday why it would be necessarily “racist” for someone to change their skin tone to resemble a person of a different race for Halloween. Kelly’s lawyer is scheduled to meet with NBC executives on Friday, but, according to Mediaite, he’s coming with a significant demand: that former NBC reporter Ronan Farrow be present at the meeting.
“Kelly’s lawyer Brian Friedman will meet with NBC brass and has requested that Farrow — who left NBC News last year after the network declined to run his expose on Harvey Weinstein — be present,” Mediaite reports. “Farrow recently accused NBC News of blocking his reporting on Weinstein, a charge that was denied by network chief Andy Lack. Megyn Kelly covered the spat on her NBC News morning show, questioning NBC’s handling of the Weinstein report, and suggesting the network use an ‘outside investigator’ to find out what happened.”
Mediaite reports that after she pushed back on NBC’s handling of Farrow’s story, over the next few weeks, Kelly’s relationship with NBC “soured.”
The blow-up with NBC, at least publicly, revolves around Kelly’s comments Tuesday about what is or isn’t out of bounds for Halloween. Citing the particular example of “Real Housewives of New York” star Luann de Lesseps getting slammed as racist for darkening her skin in order to look like Diana Ross for Halloween, Kelly pushed back on the idea that that was inherently racist.
“And people said that that was racist. And I don’t know!” said Kelly. “I thought like, who doesn’t love Diana Ross? She wants to look like Diana Ross for one day, and I don’t know how that got racist on Halloween.”
The comment was immediately characterized as a defense of the racist tradition of “blackface,” in which a white person applies dark make-up to portray people of color in a derogatory way. In response, Kelly issued an emotional apology on Wednesday.
“I want to begin with two words, I’m sorry,” she said. She went on to say she was “wrong” for her comments about changing one’s skin tone in light of the history of blackface, which she said she did not fully understand or consider when she made the comments on Tuesday. While she is not someone who accepts “PC culture” in general, she suggested, any semblance of defense of that practice was wrong.
Kelly’s apology appears not to have been enough. On Wednesday, NBC News chief Andy Lack condemned Kelly’s comments on Wednesday. “There is no other way to put this: I condemn those remarks; there is no place on our air or in this workplace for them,” he said. On Thursday, reports began to emerge that Kelly was going to be fired and that she would be paid out some $69 million.