Tamron Hall’s abrupt exit from NBC has prompted accusations that the network is “whitewashing” its lineup. The National Association of Black Journalists released a statement on Thursday that called out the Peacock Network after its controversial decision to replace Hall and Al Roker in the 9 a.m. “Today” show hour with incoming anchor, Megyn Kelly.
After noting that NBC had seen “ratings success” during the Hall and Roker-helmed third hour of the program, the NABJ said, “NBC has been a leader for diversity in broadcasting, but recent reports that Hall and Roker will be replaced by former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly are being seen by industry professionals as whitewashing.”
“Published reports suggest Kelly will be replacing ‘Today’s Takes,’ the hour of programming led by Hall and Roker. Roker tweeted last week that the show leads the ratings in its time slot and consistently beats its competition,” the statement continued. “This achievement deserves praise, not punishment, as replacing talent often is associated with low ratings performance. Kelly has a well-documented history of offensive remarks regarding people of color. On The Kelly File, her Fox News show, the host said then-First Lady Michelle Obama’s commencement address at Tuskegee University pandered to a ‘culture of victimization.'”
The NABJ finished its statement by requesting a meeting with NBC executives to continue “dialogue and resolve regarding black journalists and their continuing roles at NBC both in front and behind the camera.”
Though NBC indeed chose to replace Hall and Roker, two prominent black journalists, with Kelly, who was coming from Fox News, which notoriously lacks diversity, the decision to leave the network altogether was reportedly Hall’s own. She had been offered a multi-million dollar contract to stay at NBC in a different capacity, but ultimately turned it down.
The accusations of whitewashing also come amid news that Hall learned about the “Today” show shakeup minutes before going on air on MSNBC last Friday.
“Minutes before going on MSNBC, they told her that she and Al are being taken off the air,” a source told People. “She couldn’t believe they told her right before she had to go on air. She was definitely shocked.”
According to another People source, “there’s bad blood” between Hall and NBC following her messy exit from the network after 10 years there. For his part, Roker plans on staying with NBC and his longtime “Today” family and will be integrated into the first two hours of the morning news program once Kelly officially joins the lineup. He’ll continue to man the third hour of the “Today” show until then.
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