The “Today” show is facing a shake-up that has some raising eyebrows.
Last month, NBC revealed plans to bring former Fox News host Megyn Kelly into its morning lineup, reportedly bumping co-hosts Tamron Hall and Al Roker from the 9 a.m. slot. On Wednesday, NBC announced that Hall would be leaving the network after three years as a co-host on the show. She’d surprised her colleagues by rejecting a multimillion-dollar deal amid the hour’s healthy ratings; according to rumor, she’d found being replaced by Kelly offensive and hurtful.
The National Association of Black Journalists, however, has made its thoughts on the issue clear. In a statement released this week, the organization stated it was “saddened” by Hall’s departure and said Kelly’s move to the 9 a.m. hour is “being seen by industry professionals as whitewashing.”
Hall had been the show’s first black female co-host.
“Kelly has a well-documented history of offensive remarks regarding people of color,” the organization stated, giving the example of Kelly stating that Michelle Obama’s 2015 commencement address at Tuskegee University pandered to “a culture of victimization.”
(Other examples abound: Kelly cast doubt on the significance of blatantly racist emails sent within the Ferguson, Missouri, police department, defended a Baltimore officer involved in the death of Freddie Gray, and called the black teen manhandled at a pool party by Texas police “no saint.”)
Some viewers have also expressed disappointment at the “Today” show shake-up.
In a statement regarding her decision, Hall said she was “grateful” for her 10 years at the network, but also “very excited about the next chapter” in her career. “To all my great colleagues, I will miss you and I will be rooting for you,” she said.
Calling her an “exceptional journalist,” NBC said in a statement of its own, “We are disappointed that she has chosen to leave, but we wish her all the best.”