When in doubt, just say you were kidding. That's what Megyn Kelly did after she opened a firestorm of controversy when she said, "By the way, for all the kids watching at home, Santa just is white," in response to a Slate piece called "Santa Claus should not be a white man anymore" by Aisha Harris, who is black.
Harris wrote about her childhood discomfort with the mainstream portrayal of Santa Claus as white and said Santa Claus should be a penguin in order to be more inclusive. Kelly decried the article on FOX News' "The Kelly File" and said, "This person is just arguing that maybe we should also have a black Santa. But you know, Santa is what he is and just so, you know, we are just debating this because someone wrote about it, kids."
Critics blasted Kelly's vehement opposition to a Santa of color - Jon Stewart, in particular, ripped the anchor apart on his show. He compared Kelly's quote, "Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn't mean it has to change" to the "dictionary definition of oppression." Don Lemon of CNN also said of Kelly, "If you thought Santa Claus or Jesus Christ were anything other than white, FOX News anchor Megyn Kelly wants you to know you are wrong."
Kelly has shot back now, calling her detractors "race baiters" and "humorless." She said, "I realize that the piece by Harris which went on to argue that Santa should be a penguin was also tongue in cheek. That's in part why we covered the story in the first place. Humor is part of what we try to bring to this show. But sometimes that's lost on the humorless."
Kelly said, "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. Contrary to what my critics said posited neither my statement nor Harris's, I'm sure was motivated by any racial fear or loathing."
Kelly did backpedal a bit on her statement that Jesus was white. "As I've learned in the past two days, that is far from settled," she said. No final word on the Santa Clause debate, either.