Everything That Upset the Internet This Week

What is the web-o-sphere angry about this week? A white news anchor defending blackface on Halloween, a female comedian siding with a man accused of sexual harassment, and an underwhelming TV sitcom death. Here’s everything you need to know.

Megyn Kelly encourages blackface

THE STORY: On October 22, a week before Halloween, Megyn Kelly decided to discuss costumes with a few guests on her NBC show, Megyn Kelly Today. An innocuous topic of conversation, one would assume, but not quite what Kelly had in mind, considering she kicked off the discourse with this: “Political correctness has gone amok. There are strict rules on what you may or may not wear issued by someone who thinks they’re the boss of you.”

After much discussion (and eye-rolling) of costumes generally considered racist, Kelly brought up the concept of blackface, bemoaning how it’s now frowned upon in polite society.

“But what is racist?” Kelly asked about white people donning blackface as a costume. “Because you do get in trouble if you’re a white person who puts on blackface for Halloween or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. When I was a kid, that was OK as long as you were dressing up as a character.”

Kelly went on to defend Real Housewives of New York castmember Luann de Lesseps, who decided to dress as Diana Ross last Halloween. “She made her skin look darker than it really was and people said that was racist. I don’t know,” Kelly said. “I found that, like, who doesn’t love Diana Ross? Who doesn’t want to look like Diana Ross for one day? I don’t know how that got racist on Halloween.”

THE REACTION:

RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE RAGE: People who pull the “what’s the big deal?” card on blackface are failing to take into account the history of the practice—white people’s performative, exaggerated and disrespectful depiction of black people in minstrel shows—and what it represents in American culture (not to mention the fact that a person’s race or ethnicity should never be considered “costume”). “This is a history going back to the 1830s—minstrel shows to demean and denigrate a race wasn’t right… magnifying the worst stereotypes about black people,” said Al Roker the next day on the Today show, also on NBC.

After an outcry on social media and scheduled guests like the House of Cards showrunners declining to appear on the show, NBC ultimately cancelled Kelly’s show.

Kelly may have issued an apology but this debacle certainly proves that she should not be given a major platform to air her views on social and cultural issues. She still walked away with $69 million though, so I’d say she’s not too much worse for the wear. Maybe Fox News will take her back?

Sarah Silverman defends Louis CK

THE STORY: Earlier this week, Sarah Silverman told Howard Stern that she voluntarily consented to have Louis C.K. masturbate in front of her. “I’ve known Louis forever, I’m not making excuses for him, so please don’t take this that way,” Silverman told Stern. “We are peers. We are equals. When we were kids, and he asked if he could masturbate in front of me, sometimes I’d go, ‘Fuck yeah I want to see that!’”

She added, “It’s not analogous to the other women that are talking about what he did to them. He could offer me nothing. We were only just friends.”

Rebecca Corry, one of the comedians who came forward last year with her story in the New York Times about how CK forced her to watch him masturbate, said on Twitter, “To be real clear, CK had “nothing to offer me” as I too was his equal on the set the day he decided to sexually harass me. He took away a day I worked years for and still has no remorse. He’s a predator who victimized women for decades and lied about it.”

THE REACTION:

RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE RAGE: What Silverman described is a consensual—albeit strange—sexual interaction between two friends. As long as it involves consenting adults, there’s no reason for us to comment on sexual activity between two people. But, considering she knew of CK’s, shall we say, proclivity to masturbate in front of women, Silverman should have come forward with this last year when the women who spoke out against him were being vilified, blamed or not believed. As a woman who had been in that situation with CK before, she should have had the understanding and empathy to see that the same events could just as easily have taken place in a non-consensual and traumatic scenario, and spoken up in solidarity with the women who were bravely raising their own voices. Muddying the waters several months later by casually discussing her own consensual experience with CK is really not helping matters.

Modern Family death is deemed “not significant enough”

THE STORY: Several weeks ago, Modern Family’s showrunners teased the death of a “significant character” in the show’s latest season. The way this story usually goes is: fans react in dismay, disbelief and shock, commiserating with each other on social media over losing a beloved character. But that’s… not quite how it went when the anticipated episode aired on Wednesday. There was a massive negative reaction on Twitter, certainly, but it was because the character who died wasn’t major enough.

THE REACTION:

RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE RAGE: Guys, there’s enough shit to get worked up over. How about you just savour the fact that whoever your favourite character on the show is, he or she will still be around next season? Rejoice in the fact that you didn’t have to mourn a TV death on par with those of McDreamy, Will Gardner and Michael Cordero. We’ve clearly become so inured to bad news that when something isn’t as bad as we thought it’d be, we just don’t know what to do with ourselves.