Black Journalist Group Demands Meeting with NBC After Tamron Hall ‘Whitewashing’

News anchor Tamron Hall speaks onstage during the National CARES Mentoring Movement’s 2nd Annual 'For the Love of Our Children' Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on January 30, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for for National CARES Mentoring Movement)
Bennett Raglin/Getty

The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), America’s largest advocacy organization for journalists of color, is demanding a meeting with NBC executives following what the group calls the “whitewashing” of Tamron Hall after she left the network earlier this week.

“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 cohost and was enjoying ratings success alongside Al Roker during the show’s third hour of programming,” the group wrote in a statement. “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.”

Hall reportedly rejected a multi-year NBC contract worth “multiple millions” after her hour-long hosting spot on the network’s top-rated Today’s Take morning show was cut to accommodate the arrival of former Fox News star Megyn Kelly.

Longtime Today weatherman Al Roker — who had co-hosted Today’s Take along with Hall — was also axed.

“Roker tweeted last week that the show leads the ratings in its time slot and consistently beats its competition,” the NABJ statement said. “This achievement deserves praise, not punishment, as replacing talent often is associated with low ratings performance.”

The Washington, D.C.-based group also criticized Kelly over past “offensive remarks.”

“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 statement said.

“While NABJ wishes Hall well on her next move, NABJ requests a meeting with NBC leadership on the top-rated show’s dismantling,” the group wrote. “We look forward to dialogue and resolve regarding black journalists and their continuing roles at NBC both in front and behind the camera.”

Kelly’s exit from Fox News and her move to NBC came after a months-long, high-profile bidding war over the 46-year-old anchor whose star status rose after a year which saw her become part of the storyline during the presidential election.

Hall’s departure from Today infuriated her fans, many of whom rushed to social media and blamed NBC for unfairly booting the network’s only black female on-air personality.

Some fans went so far as to say that they won’t be tuning in to watch Kelly on Today.

NBC released a statement Wednesday, announcing Hall’s departure and expressing gratitude for her many years with the network.

“Tamron is an exceptional journalist, we valued and enjoyed her work at Today and MSNBC and hoped that she would decide to stay,” NBC said in a statement. “We are disappointed that she has chosen to leave, but we wish her all the best.”

Hall, who didn’t offer a customary on-air farewell, released a statement through NBC: “The last ten years have been beyond anything I could have imagined, and I’m grateful. I’m also very excited about the next chapter. To all my great colleagues, I will miss you and I will be rooting for you.”

Hall, who also anchored an hourlong news show on MSNBC, will continued to cover and report on domestic violence crimes, an issue she investigates for Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall, which airs on Investigation Discovery.

Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @jeromeehudson