NBC’s Megyn Kelly complained that it’s unfair for white people to be called racist for wearing blackface costumes at Halloween.
The “Today” host led a discussion of universities banning some costumes that could be considered racist or culturally insensitive, and she asked panelists to explain the problem to her.
“What is racist?” Kelly said. “You do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface on Halloween, or a black person that puts on whiteface for Halloween. Back when I was a kid, that was okay, as long as you were dressing up as, like, a character.”
NBC News reporter Jacob Soboroff said freedom of expression should allow for both offensive costumes and consequences for those who wear them.
“You can dress like an idiot, act like an idiot and actually dress and be racist, somebody should say something to somebody — but you should be able to dress like a moron,” Soboroff said.
TV host Melissa Rivers explained that the rule of thumb for offensive material was pretty simple.
“If you think it’s offensive, it probably is,” Rivers said. “Whatever happened to manners and polite society?”
Kelly said Halloween was not traditionally a time for manners and civility.
“You’ve got guys with fake axes coming out of their head,” Kelly said. “It’s going to be jarring.”