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Al Roker Defends Dressing as White ‘Back to the Future’ Character for Halloween

Dylan Dreyer, dressed as Marty McFly, left, and Al Roker, dressed as Dr. Emmett Brown from "Back to the Future" appear during the "Today" show Halloween celebration at Rockefeller Plaza on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

NBC’s Today Show weatherman Al Roker says he isn’t apologizing for dressing up for Halloween as a Caucasian character — Doc Brown from 1980s classic Back to the Future — after criticizing now-former colleague Megyn Kelly’s defense of blackface.

Responding to criticism on social media, a seemingly frustrated Roker said dressing up as a character of a different skin tone is acceptable as long as one doesn’t “color” their skin.

“I’m going to say this one last time, but the folks who get it, understand and the ones who DON’T, won’t,” tweeted Roker. “I can be Doc Brown, and I wear the outfit and wig and not change my skin color if you’re white , you can be President Obama if you want. Just don’t color your skin!

However, some say Roker’s costume choice is the latest example of double standards when it comes to race. “@alroker: @megynkelly is a terrible person to even suggest that it is Ok for a white person to go as a black character for Halloween. Also @alroker: Goes as Doc brown, a white character from a movie for halloween.#Hypocrites #Whiteface,” one Twitter user wrote. 

One Facebook user wrote: “Megyn Kelly loses her show because she posed a question about dressing as an admired character of color if you are of Caucasian background —and yet Al Roker dresses today as a beloved character from an iconic movie who happens to be Caucasian. Is there some hypocrisy in there?”

Last week, Roker denounced Kelly’s blackface remarks after she issued a tearful on-air apology. Kelly drew ire from NBC personalities and the media-at-large after arguing blackface was acceptable when she was a child “as long as you were dressing like a character.”

 “The fact is, while she apologized to the staff, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the country,” the longtime weatherman said. “This is a history going back to the 1830s minstrel shows to demean and denigrate a race. It 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 worst stereotypes about black men — and that’s what the problem is. That’s what the issue is,” he added.

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