Megyn Kelly Today has been canceled by NBC following comments she made about wearing blackface on Halloween in a Tuesday taping. The network announced Friday that the 9 a.m. hour of Today will be hosted by other anchors from the network, per the Associated Press.Though Kelly made an on-air apology, rumors have been swirling about the future of the show for days and she did not appear live on Thursday or Friday morning after NBC confirmed to People that it would air taped episodes for the remainder of the week. “They’re contacting the staff and reassigning everyone today. Everyone’s being told that they still have a home here, but it won’t be on Megyn’s show,” one source told People.
The Tuesday incident had some feeling like Kelly was defending blackface, asking “What is racist?” She added: “You do get in trouble if you’re a white person who puts on blackface for 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.”
“I can’t keep up with the number of people we’re offending just by being normal people,” Kelly continued.
The backlash was swift. Kelly’s Today colleagues condemned her behavior on the air. “She owes a bigger apology to folks of color,” Al Roker said. And Craig Melvin called her statement “ignorant and racist.”
Kelly was a contentious hire for NBC from the start, given her background at Fox News where she had a reputation for inflammatory statements like declaring that Santa Claus and Jesus could only be white. And the controversies didn’t stop once she took over the nine o’clock hour of Today. There was an awkward interview with Jane Fonda where Kelly kept pressing the actress to speak about her plastic surgery. Then there was the time she joked with Suzanne Somers about sex while asleep. Or when she spoke out against gun control after the Las Vegas shooting.
The show has also struggled in the ratings which is a problem for the network when Kelly is signed to a contract that is reportedly worth $23 million a year. Sources say that Kelly is still negotiating her exit package from NBC which could amount to tens of millions of dollars.
Reactions on social media were mixed with some praising the choice to cancel the show and others finding it unfair.
Kelly has yet to comment on the cancellation.