Megyn Kelly's 'Today' blackface scandal: Everything you need to know


Megyn Kelly's future at NBC is reportedly up in the air this week after the "Today" show co-host controversially defended blackface on Halloween during Tuesday's episode of "Megyn Kelly Today."

In the days since, a slew of reports have surfaced about Kelly, the status of her hour of the network's premiere morning show and what's really going on behind-the-scenes.

Below, we've broken down Megyn Kelly's latest scandal and the subsequent fallout from her comments.

On Tuesday, Megyn Kelly hosted a segment called "Halloween costume crackdown: University targets 'inappropriate & offensive' costumes," during which she and three others discussed what constitutes a controversial costume in 2018, and the conversation turned to blackface.

"What is racist?" Kelly said. "You do get in trouble if you are 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 okay just as long as you were dressing as a character."

She then brought up a recent example of a celebrity receiving backlash, which she characterized as unwarranted, after darkening her skin for a costume.

"There was a controversy on 'The Real Housewives of New York' with Luann, as she dressed as Diana Ross and she made her skin look darker than it really is," Kelly said on Tuesday. "People said that that was racist! And I don't know, like, I thought, like, 'Who doesn't love Diana Ross?' She wants to look like Diana Ross for one day. I don't know how that got racist on Halloween. It's not like she's walking around [wearing blackface] in general."

The backlash to her comments was swift, with many online calling her out for being tone-deaf and uninformed, while others called back to her 2013 statement that "Santa is white" when reacting to black men dressing up as Santa Claus in malls across the country.

Later on Tuesday, Kelly penned an email to her "friends and teammates" at NBC apologizing for her remarks.

"One of the wonderful things about my job is that I get the chance to express and hear a lot of opinions," Kelly began her email. "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."

"I realize now that such behavior is indeed wrong” she said of wearing blackface. "I am sorry."

Hours after she sent the email, "NBC Nightly News" aired a segment examining the statements that she made on-air and her subsequent apology. On Wednesday morning, her fellow "Today" show co-hosts also discussed her comments, with Al Roker and Craig Melvin, who are both black, fully condemning her stance on blackface.

"The fact is, while she apologized to the staff, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the country," Roker said. "No good comes from it."

"She’s a friend. She said something stupid," Melvin added. "She said something indefensible."

An hour later, Kelly opened her 9 a.m. hour of "Today" by apologizing once again for her comments, this time seemingly while holding back tears.

"I want to begin with two words: I'm sorry," she said. "You may have heard that yesterday we had a discussion here about political correctness and Halloween costumes, and that conversation turned to whether it is ever okay for a person of one race to dress-up as another -- a black person making their face lighter, or a white person making their's darker -- to make a costume complete."

"I defended the idea, saying as long as it's respectful and part of a Halloween costume, it seemed okay," she went on. "Well, I was wrong, and I am sorry."

Later that day, NBC News Chairman Andy Lack held a town hall meeting at NBC to discuss the blowback that the network has received and he, too, openly disagreed with Kelly's statements.

"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," Lack said. "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."

On Wednesday evening, The Hollywood Reporter cited sources that alleged that "Megyn Kelly Today" will end after its current second season -- before 2019, the New York Times said -- though talks of it ending started weeks before Kelly's latest controversy.

"Kelly met with network executives in recent weeks to discuss the future of the show and expressed a desire to cover more news and politics," the report read. "The discussions are at least an acknowledgement that the experiment is not working and that Kelly would prefer to be covering more as she did with the Brett Kavanaugh hearings."

On Thursday, it was revealed that Kelly would not appear on "Today" for the rest of the week, with Thursday and Friday's episodes of "Megyn Kelly Today" now scheduled to be reruns. Page Six reported that the cast of Netflix's "House of Cards" pulled out of appearing on her show following the controversy.

Perhaps the most telling sign that Kelly's future at NBC is up in the air came from another THR report that revealed the former Fox News personality is no longer represented by talent agency CAA. Kelly was reportedly on the hunt for new representation "because the agency also reps NBC News president Noah Oppenheim" and was in talks with UTA co-president Jay Sures to sign with his agency. After her blackface scandal, though, Sures has reportedly backed out of those negotiations.

Not only that, but Kelly also reportedly hired Bryan Freedman, known as one of Hollywood's top talent-side attorneys, which may signal that she is gearing up for a legal battle with NBC. Could that mean she's leaving NBC altogether? Sources say that could well be the case.