It was a conversation about Halloween costumes and race. It became a conversation about racism after NBC talk show host Megyn Kelly said this:
"There was a controversy on Real Housewives of NY with LuAnn. She dressed as Diana Ross and she made her skin look darker than it really is and people said that that was racist and I don't know, 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."
People – from celebrities on social media, to Kelly's own NBC colleagues, to local NAACP officials – lined up to tell Kelly how it got racist.
"It was very hurtful to a lot of people that she said that because of the history context of what wearing blackface meant," said Venice Ervin, President of the Utica/Oneida County NAACP chapter. "Worldwide, it was looked upon and frowned upon it was a way to make black people really look pretty bad because at that time, they wouldn't allow black people to be in the theatre or vaudeville shows or anything."
Kelly apologized on her show Wednesday.
"I defended the idea, saying as long as it was respectful and part of a halloween costume, it seemed ok. Well, I was wrong, and I'm sorry," said Kelly. "I learned that given the history of blackface being used in awful ways by racists in this country, it is not OK for that to be part of any costume, Halloween or otherwise."
"I hope her apology this morning was sincere," said Ervin.