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“People said that was racist and I don’t know, I felt like, who doesn’t love Diana Ross?” Kelly said on Tuesday. “She wanted to look like Diana Ross for one day. I don’t know how that got racist on Halloween.”
Guest panelist Jacob Soboroff, a reporter for NBC News, responded that he hadn't seen de Lesseps's costume of Ross but that "it sounds a little racist to me.”
Kelly's comments quickly drew fire from critics, most notably from NBC News and MSNBC.
On "NBC Nightly News" on Tuesday evening, anchor Lester Holt addressed the Kelly issue. The next day, "Today" did another story on Kelly's comments, as did MSNBC, which included anchor Craig Melvin calling Kelly's comments "indefensible."
Kelly apologized for the comment in a letter to NBC staff. But longtime "Today" meteorologist Al Roker said the apology wasn't good enough.
“The fact is, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the county,” he said. “This is a history, going back to the 1830s minstrel shows. To demean and denigrate a race wasn’t right. I’m old enough to have lived through Amos ‘n’ Andy where you had white people in blackface playing two black characters just magnifying the stereotypes about black people. And that’s what the big problem is. … No good comes from it. It’s just not right.” 
Kelly would make an emotional apology on the air on Wednesday.
“I want to begin with two words, I'm sorry,” she began. “The country feels so divided and I have no wish to add to that pain and offense. I believe this is a time for more understanding, more love, more sensitivity and honor.” “Thank you for listening and for helping me listen too,” Kelly concluded to a standing ovation from the live in-studio audience.
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