NBC News on Friday confirmed that one of its highest-paid stars, Megyn Kelly, is in talks to exit the network after defending whites wearing blackface on the Tuesday edition of her “Megyn Kelly Today” morning show.
“This morning, NBC News host Megyn Kelly in talks with the network about her imminent departure,” said network correspondent Morgan Radford on Friday’s “Today” show, citing a “source familiar with the situation.”
“Conversations have already started about Megyn’s exit, the exact details of which remain unclear at this point,” Radford added, citing the same “sources” familiar and adding that there was also “growing speculation” about what will happen with the remainder of the three-year, $69 million contract she signed in January 2017.
Reps for NBC and Kelly have repeatedly declined to comment on the matter. Kelly’s attorney, Bryan Freeman, also did not immediately respond to request for comment from TheWrap.
The show — long a ratings loser — faced its most serious crisis to date after Kelly defended the use of “blackface” in some circumstances, like on Halloween.
“What is racist?” Kelly asked Tuesday. “You get in trouble if you’re a white person who puts on blackface on Halloween or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. When I was a kid, that was OK as long as you were dressing up as a character.”
The moment was roundly condemned by outside commentators, the NAACP and many of Kelly’s in-house colleagues. On Wednesday, the anchor attempted to stanch the bleeding with an emotional apology and a panel of guests lecturing her about why blackface was wrong.
“I want to begin with two words, I’m sorry,” she said at the top of the show. “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. Thank you for listening and for helping me listen too.”
It didn’t work.
The show has been in reruns since yesterday and it remains unclear what the 9 a.m. hour will look like on Monday.