After she was roundly criticized earlier this week for insisting that Santa is white, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly took to the air Friday to say, well, she was joking. She also hit back at race baiters, accusing them of whipping things into a frenzy just to attack the conservative station.
“Humor is what we try to bring to this show, but that’s lost on the humorless,” Kelly said Friday on The Kelly File. “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.”
As The Root reported, she prompted a vociferous uproar Wednesday, when she and several guests discussed a column by Slate writer Aisha Harris suggesting that Santa be replaced by a penguin because of cultural changes in society.
“By the way, for you kids watching at home, Santa just is white,” Kelly said sternly Wednesday. “But this person is arguing that maybe we should also have a black Santa. But you know, Santa is what he is, and just so you know, we’re just debating this because someone wrote about it, kids.”
Kelly went on to say, “Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change. You know, I mean, Jesus was a white man, too. But you know it’s like we have—he was a historical figure, I mean that’s a verifiable fact. As is Santa. I just want the kids watching to know that.”
Later, The Daily Show had a field day with her remarks. Host Jon Stewart told viewers that the real St. Nicholas was indeed from Greece, which was argued by Kelly and her panel of guests, but from the part of Greece that is now Turkey.
Kelly, the jokester, was not amused by the backlash caused by her commentary. Perhaps she needs to work on her delivery—if we even buy her explanation that she was joking.
“Contrary to what my critics have posited, neither my statement, nor Harris’, I’m sure, was motivated by any racial fear or loathing,” she said Friday. “In fact, it was something far less sinister: a lifetime of exposure to the very same commercials, mall casting calls and movies Harris references in her piece.
“We continually see St. Nick as a white man in modern-day America,” she continued. “Should that change? Well, that debate got lost because so many couldn’t get past the fact that I acknowledged, as Harris did, that the most commonly depicted image of Santa, does, in fact, have white skin.”