Megyn Kelly Defends Blackface Halloween Costumes: 'What Is Racist?'

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Megyn Kelly made controversial comments on her NBC show on Tuesday, when she questioned why wearing blackface for Halloween costumes is considered offensive.

Kelly brought television personalities Jenna Bush Hager, Melissa Rivers and Jacob Soboroff on Megyn Kelly Today to discuss some universities banning certain costumes. Kelly made it clear that she was against banning various costumes that others found offensive, including cowboys, dressing up like disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein, "anything Mexican-based," nuns and more.

"I have to give you a fair warning, I'm a little fired up about Halloween costumes this morning," she began the segment. "I mean, truly, political correctness has gone amok. There are strict rules on what you may and may not wear by someone who thinks is the boss of you."

"Isn't the whole purpose of Halloween to dress up and pretend you're someone other than yourself?" she continued. " ... I feel like it's so absurd. Who comes up with these rules?"

Later, Kelly brought up the issue of some using blackface for their Halloween costumes and getting slammed for it. 

"What is racist?" she questioned. "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 OK just as long as you were dressing as a character."

Not everyone on the panel agreed with Kelly. Rivers replied, "If you think it's offensive, it probably is, and one of my big complaints with society right now is whatever happened to just manners and polite society? .... Normal people kind of know where that line is." 

Bush Hager also noted, "I think there are limits on how far you want to go. If you're making people feel bad... "

Later, 47-year-old Kelly doubled down by bringing up Real Housewives of New York cast member Luann de Lesseps, who faced backlash in April when, during the Bravo show's 10th season premiere, she attended a Halloween party dressed as legendary singer Diana Ross and sported noticeably darker skin. At the time, de Lesseps told ET that although she used tanning cream and wasn't intending to use blackface, she understood the criticism and apologized for it.

"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."

Kelly has received backlash on social media for her comments. For example, Patton Oswalt tweeted, "Dear @megynkelly -- you and I are approximately the same age. Blackface was NOT okay when we were kids. Take it from a big-hearted boy who just wanted to show his love for Nipsey Russell on the worst Halloween of my life."

According to multiple reports, Kelly later apologized in an internal email on Tuesday, that said that she's heard from colleagues and friends and realized her comments were wrong.

This isn't the first time Kelly has caused controversy on her show. In January, she got into a feud with Jane Fonda, when she clapped back at Fonda after the actress remarked that she's "not that good a interviewer" following their awkward exchange last September. Watch below:

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