Only a day after apologizing for an unwise comment about white people donning blackface costumes, NBC fired TV host Megyn Kelly. But there are a number of entertainers who have actually appeared in blackface — as opposed to just talking about it like Kelly did — and were not only NOT fired, but were made stars.
Kelly, who famously quit Fox News while accusing several co-workers of sexual harassment, moved to NBC only just over a year ago raising eyebrows for her high-dollar contract.
Her liberal colleagues were furious that she came from Fox News and was signed for big money to a show in prime morning viewing hours. The left was out to destroy her immediately.
Of course, Kelly handed them several bats to beat her over the head with during her short tenure at NBC.
In any case, the last straw came last week when she talked about how white people used to dress in blackface for Halloween and no one made a big deal about it.
During her October 23 broadcast of Megyn Kelly Today, Kelly said blackface was not always a big problem:
But what is racist? 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.
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. 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.
The next day, Kelly made a near-tearful apology:
I want to begin with two words, I’m sorry. 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 OK for a person of one race to dress up as another… I defended the idea, saying as long as it was respectful and part of a Halloween costume, it seemed okay. Well, I was wrong and I am sorry. One of the great parts of sitting in this chair each day is getting to discuss different points of view. Sometimes I talk and sometimes I listen and yesterday I learned. I learned that given the history of blackface being used in awful ways by racists in this country it is not okay for that to be part of any costume, Halloween or otherwise. I have never been a PC kind of person, but I do understand the value in being sensitive to our history, particularly on race and ethnicity. This past year as 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 apology didn’t save her job and NBC announced Kelly was through.
But, remember, this was just Kelly TALKING about wearing blackface. There have been other stars who actually WORE blackface and have found no repercussions.
Back in 1993, for instance, sitcom star Ted Danson dressed in blackface for a celebrity roast of his then girlfriend Whoopi Goldberg.
All of Hollywood yucked it up and Danson faced no real problems overhis “joke.”
Actress Julianne Hough also donned the blacking for a 2013 Halloween party with a costume of actress Uzo Adub’s Orange is the New Black character. Hough never lost a single job over it.
Singer Joni Mitchell has also worn blackface. It seems that no one has worried overmuch about it.
Jimmy Kimmel donned blackface for a skit on Comedy Central. Now he is the left-wing star of lat night TV!
In 2017, Jimmy Fallon did a blackface impression of Chris Rock. No problems there, apparently. Though, I have t admit, the audience full of stars at the Golden Globes wasn’t very fired up over the bit.
Then there was foul-mouthed, Trump-hating comedienne Sarah Silverman who hates all conservatives, Republicans AND all their voters. She donned blackface in 2007.
She later apologized for it but has really not suffered any career problems.
Silverman is still celebrated as the beau ideal of female comedy.
So, just how much DOES the entertainment industry oppose blackface, anyway?
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.
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