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US talk show host Megyn Kelly off air after blackface comment

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US journalist Megyn Kelly, one of the most recognizable faces on American television news, was off the air Thursday after sparking controversy with her comments about the use of blackface.

[NEW YORK] US journalist Megyn Kelly, one of the most recognizable faces on American television news, was off the air Thursday after sparking controversy with her comments about the use of blackface.

NBC aired a rerun of her morning talk show, "Megyn Kelly Today," amid speculation that the gaffe would spell the end for the program hosted by the former attorney and Fox News anchor.

NBC News reported that Kelly, 47, had parted ways with her agent over the incident. The Hollywood Reporter and CNN reported, citing unnamed sources, that her program would be ended after this season.

During a Tuesday segment about Halloween costumes, Kelly questioned if blackface - makeup traditionally used by non-black performers to mock African Americans - was always problematic.

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"What is racist? Because, truly, you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface for Halloween or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween," she said.

"When I was a kid, that was OK as long as you were dressing up as, like, a character."

The comments sparked a quick backlash on social media, calls for Kelly's resignation and displeasure from her own colleagues.

"While she apologized to the staff, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the country," said veteran NBC weatherman Al Roker, who is black.

On Wednesday, she opened his live show with an apology.

"I'm Megyn Kelly and I want to begin with two words: I'm sorry," Ms Kelly said.

"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."

She also welcomed two black panelists on the show to discuss the controversy.

NBC News Chairman Andy Lack, speaking on Wednesday at a pre-scheduled event, said: "I condemn those remarks; there is no place on our air or in this workplace for them."

Ms Kelly earned fame as a longtime anchor for Fox News, notably sparring with Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election campaign.

She left that network early last year and joined NBC. She has accused Fox co-founder Roger Ailes of sexually harassing her. Ailes died in May 2017.

AFP