The departure of Tamron Hall is leading to a bigger discussion about Black representation in journalism.
The recent departure of Tamron Hall from NBC not only has fans talking, but it has also prompted the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) to lead a discussion about whitewashing in broadcast media.
Hall decided not to renew her contract last week after 10 years with the network. It is said that she turned down a multi-million dollar deal that would have given her a significant role on Today, her MSNBC show, the weekend Nightly News anchor chair and an expanded role on Dateline NBC.
Why? Megyn Kelly.
Kelly who was previously on Fox News gained notoriety for her drama with Donald Trump over her “biased” moderating style during the Republican presidential debate. The pair made-up, but left a bad taste in many a mouth on how sensationalized the whole thing was— and how it simultaneously drew away from real issues.
The New York Times reported in January that Kelly was leaving Fox after 13 years to join NBC for a daily daytime show (Today) and a Sunday newsmagazine program.
“First of all, thank you guys so much for all of your social media messages,” Hall says in a Twitter video post not addressing the rumors.
“It’s meant so much to me, these are good times. These are good times for everybody and good times for one of my favorite organizations: Housing Works. So this is what I’ve been doing all day. I have Jimmy [Choo], Christian Louboutin, I’ve got work clothes, I’ve got party clothes. I have packed up a mother [lode] headed to Housing Works to donate all of these things.”
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But while Hall is backing away from the situation as non-confrontational as possible, NABJ is not here to play.
NABJ says in a statement: “The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is saddened by Tamron Hall’s departure from NBC. She broke ground as the first black female Today show co-host and was enjoying ratings success alongside Al Roker during the show’s third hour of programming. 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.”
Adding, “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.’”
They close by asking for a dialogue with NBC to discuss the recent decisions made. And NBC responded with a “yes”.
We’ll see what happens but hopefully this departure is a sign of bigger things to come from Hall.
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