Megyn Kelly brought a firestorm down on Fox News last week when she specifically addressed “all the kids watching at home,” and then insisted, “Santa is white.”
Now Kelly is claiming that her remarks, which came as part of a response to a Slate piece by black author Aisha Harris called “Santa Claus should not be a white man anymore,” were taken out of context. Her comments, she said, was meant to be humorous.
Harris wrote about her childhood discomfort with the mainstream portrayal of Santa Claus as white and said Santa Claus should be a penguin in order to be more inclusive. Kelly said she took the penguin remark as tongue-and-cheek, and said her response to it during her segment “The Kelly File” was equally tongue-and-cheek.
“It’s so ridiculous: Yet another person claiming it’s racist to have a white Santa,” Kelly said during the Dec. 11 segment. “Santa just is white. This person (Harris) is just arguing that maybe we should also have a black Santa. But, you know, Santa is what he is, and just so, you know, we are just debating this because someone wrote about it, kids.”
Critics have bashed Kelly’s opposition to a Santa of color. That group included the Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart, who compared one of Kelly’s remarks — “Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change” — to the “dictionary definition of oppression.”
CNN’s Don Lemon tended to focus on Kelly’s remarks about Jesus, who Kelly also said was “factually” white during her Santa monologue.
“Where she (Kelly) lost me was with the Jesus thing,” Lemon said. “We don’t really know the skin color of Jesus, but it’s highly likely he had an olive complexion given that he was a Middle Eastern man living in the first century.”
Kelly called Stewart, Lemon, and the rest of her detractors “race baiters” and “humorless.”
“I realize that the (Slate) piece by Harris, which went on to argue that Santa should be a penguin, was tongue in cheek,” Kelly said in her response this week. “That’s, in part, why we covered the story in the first place. Humor is part of what we try to bring to this show. But sometimes that’s lost on the humorless.
“This would be funny if it were not so telling about our society – in particular, the knee jerk instinct by so many to race bait and to assume the worst in people, especially people employed by the very powerful FOX News Channel,” Kelly continued. “Contrary to what my critics have posited, neither my statement nor Harris’, I’m sure was motivated by any racial fear or loathing.”
Kelly only briefly spoke to her remark that Jesus is also white.
“As I’ve learned in the past two days, that is far from settled,” she said, giving no indication about whether that statement was tongue-and-cheek, as well.