NBC decided to part ways with veteran anchor Megyn Kelly after she made comments questioning the offensiveness of blackface.
On Monday’s episode of “Megyn Kelly Today,” the television host dismissed the idea that donning blackface was racist. “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,” Kelly said. “Back when I was a kid, that was okay as long as you were dressing up as, like, a character.”
She went on to defend reality show star Luann de Lesseps, who apologized for donning blackface while wearing a Diana Ross costume several years ago.
“She dressed as Diana Ross and she made her skin look darker than it really is and people said that that was racist,” Kelly said. “And I felt 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.”
Blackface — using makeup or some type of face paint to appear black — historically was used by white actors performing stereotypical caricatures of black people for white people’s entertainment. Instances of it still crop up, particularly around Halloween.
One of the most vocal critics of Kelly’s comments was Al Roker, the longtime weather anchor for NBC’s “Today” show and the former host of “Today’s Take,” the show that was canceled to make room for Kelly, a former prime-time host at Fox News.
Roker, a morning show staple on NBC, has been one of the key supporting characters in the story of Kelly’s brief time at NBC. Not long after it was announced that she would join the network, it was revealed that the way NBC would make room for her was by pushing Roker and his co-host, Tamron Hall, to the side.
The decision was met with great pushback from those sensitive to the lack of racial diversity in mainstream media. Kelly is white, and Roker and Hall are black.
Hall, who landed a one-on-one interview with then-Sen. Barack Obama before he launched his presidential bid, made history as the first black woman to co-anchor the “Today” show in its six decades. Roker is prolific, also hosting the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and making appearances on “Seinfeld” and “Saturday Night Live.”
The National Association of Black Journalists, which had previously criticized Kelly’s work at Fox News, accused NBC of “whitewashing” its programming with the decision to bump Hall and Roker.
Hall left NBC, but Roker remained. He was among the NBC personalities asked to respond on air to Kelly’s blackface comments.
Roker, along with black NBC journalists Craig Melvin and Morgan Radford, criticized Kelly’s comments and said her apology was insufficient.
“While she apologized to the staff, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the country,” Roker said. “Because this is a history going back to the 1830s — minstrel shows to demean and denigrate a race wasn’t right. I’m old enough to have lived through ‘Amos ‘n’ Andy,’ where you had white people in blackface playing two black characters just magnifying the stereotypes about black people. And that’s what the big problem is.”
This was not the first time that Kelly has been on the receiving end of criticism for comments about race. Before NBC decided to make her a part of its lineup:
Fox News apologized after her show used a caption referring to first lady Michelle Obama as “Obama’s Baby Mama.”
Kelly claimed that a black teenager pinned to the ground in her bathing suit by a police officer was “no saint.”
She argued that Sandra Bland, a black woman found hanging in her jail cell three days after being arrested in a traffic stop, would still be alive had she just obeyed police.
She accused the black community of having a “thug mentality” that considered it “cool” to “sort of hate the cops, and hang out — and be somebody who doesn’t necessarily prize being there for your family.”
She claimed that Jesus Christ, a Jewish man born in Bethlehem, and Santa Claus, a fictional character, were white.
On Thursday, rumors were rife that it was only a matter of when — not if — NBC would part ways with Kelly. The Washington Post’s Sarah Ellison reported this earlier today:
The relationship between Kelly and NBC News Chairman Andy Lack — who wooed her to the network in 2017 with the promise of freedom and a large paycheck — had been strained for months. As previously reported by the New York Times, the two spoke earlier this month to discuss how the show was not working and to figure out a way forward, possibly with Kelly adopting a different role.
But for many NBC viewers who desire news personalities to be champions of diversity, or, at the very least, not to romanticize behavior that large segments of the American public find hurtful, offensive and racially insensitive, Kelly’s approach to journalism had not been “working” since long before Hall and Roker were bumped to make room for her.
9-year-old genius to graduate university
(CNN) – A child prodigy from Belgium is on course to gain a bachelor’s degree at the tender age of 9.
Laurent Simons is studying electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) — a tough course even for students of an average graduate age.
Described by staff as “simply extraordinary,” Laurent is on course to finish his degree in December.
He then plans to embark on a PhD program in electrical engineering while also studying for a medicine degree, his father told CNN.
His parents, Lydia and Alexander Simons, said they thought Laurent’s grandparents were exaggerating when they said he had a gift, but his teachers soon concurred.
“They noticed something very special about Laurent,” said Lydia.
Laurent was given test after test as teachers tried to work out the extent of his talents. “They told us he is like a sponge,” said Alexander.
While Laurent comes from a family of doctors, his parents have so far not received any explanation as to why their child prodigy is capable of learning so quickly.
But Lydia has her own theory.
“I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy,” she joked.
The TUE has allowed Laurent to complete his course faster than other students.
“That is not unusual,” said Sjoerd Hulshof, education director of the TUE bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, in a statement.
“Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport.”
Hulshof said Laurent is “simply extraordinary” and praised the youngster.
“Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here,” he said. “Not only is he hyper intelligent but also a very sympathetic boy.”
Laurent told CNN his favorite subject is electrical engineering and he’s also “going to study a bit of medicine.”
His progress has not gone unnoticed and he is already being sought out by prestigious universities around the world, although Laurent’s family wouldn’t be drawn on naming which of them he is considering for his PhD.
“The absorption of information is no problem for Laurent,” said his father.
“I think the focus will be on research and applying the knowledge to discover new things.”
While Laurent is evidently able to learn faster than most, his parents are being careful to let him enjoy himself too.
“We don’t want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes,” said Alexander. “We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents.”
Laurent said he enjoys playing with his dog Sammy and playing on his phone, like many young people.
However, unlike most 9-year-olds, he has already worked out what he wants to do with his life: develop artificial organs.
In the meantime, Laurent has to finish his bachelor’s degree and choose which academic institution will play host to the next stage in his remarkable journey.
Before that, he plans on taking a vacation to Japan for an undoubtedly well-deserved break.
New award to honor arts and activism named after Lena Horne
Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem
Two gangbangers aimed their BMW like a missile at a father and his 8-year-old son on a Harlem sidewalk in a horrifying incident captured by video distributed by police Thursday.
The BMW — driven by a man police believe is a member of the Gorilla Stone Bloods Gang — was zeroed in on the father, a rival gang member, said cops.
Around 3:45 p.m. Nov. 6, the boy and his father were walking on W. 112th St. by Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. when the BMW jumped the sidewalk and slammed into them both, said cops.
🚨WANTED for ASSAULT: on 11/6 at approx 3:43 PM in front of 128 West 112th St in Manhattan, a 32 yr old male was walking with his 8 yr old son when a white BMW jumped the curb & hit the father & son. The driver then got out and slashed the father. Call @NYPDTips with any info. pic.twitter.com/cwd79rcM4c
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) November 15, 2019
Father and son were both knocked through a gate.
The BMW driver then backed up — and its driver and passenger, also believed to be a gang member, jumped out of the car and ran toward the father and the son.
One of the attackers slashed the father, identified by sources as 32-year-old Brian McIntosh, who’s served prison time for robbery and bail jumping.
McIntosh and his son went to Harlem Hospital. Miraculously, the boy escaped serious harm.
McIntosh was so adamant about refusing to help police catch his attackers that the young boy’s mother had to file a police report alleging he was the victim of a crime, police sources said.
Cops released video of the attack, and ask anyone with information about the suspects to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.
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