- NBC News
- The NBC host Megyn Kelly spoke out against sexual harassment in the workplace by sharing anecdotes about Fox News, her former employer. Kelly discussed an email she said she sent to Fox News executives complaining about O’Reilly’s comments on CBS News last year. Kelly’s latest show has struggled since its premiere last month.
The NBC News host Megyn Kelly spoke out against her former colleague Bill O’Reilly and her former employer Fox News during an emotional monologue on Monday.
In a five-minute segment, Kelly said that during her time at the network it “was not exactly a friendly environment for harassment victims who wanted to report, in my experience.” (She said, however, that the network had since made improvements).
She said she spent all weekend on the phone with women who used to work at Fox News. Those conversations were prompted by a New York Times story that detailed O’Reilly’s massive payouts to women who had accused him of sexual harassment. Kelly then used her monologue on her Monday-morning show to push back against his claims that no one ever complained about his behavior.
“O’Reilly’s suggestion that no one ever complained about his behavior was false,” Kelly said. “I know because I complained.”
She said she complained to Fox News executives last year in an email after O’Reilly snapped during an interview on “CBS This Morning” when asked about Kelly’s allegations that she was sexually harassed by the ousted Fox News CEO Roger Ailes.
“Perhaps he didn’t realize the kind of message his criticism sends to young women across this country about how men continue to view the issue of speaking out about sexual harassment,” she recalled saying in the email.
The email continued, she said Monday:
“Perhaps he didn’t realize that his exact attitude of shaming women into shutting the hell up about harassment on grounds that ‘it will disgrace the company’ is in part how Fox News got into the decade-long Ailes mess to begin with. Perhaps it’s his own history of harassment of women which has, as you both know, resulted in payouts to more than one woman, including recently, that blinded him to the folly of saying anything other than ‘I am just so sorry for the women of this company who never should have had to go through that.'”
Kelly said her complaints went unheeded, as evidenced by a defiant statement O’Reilly made about sexual harassment the night after she sent the email.
Numerous media observers also noted that Kelly singled out Fox News’ head of media relations, Irena Briganti, whose aggressive reputation among media reporters is well known and who Kelly said planted negative stories in tabloids about former network stars including Kelly.
“She’s known for her vindictiveness,” Kelly said.
The monologue preceded an interview with Juliet Huddy, who spoke out publicly for the first time since news broke earlier this year that she settled with Fox News after accusing O’Reilly of sexual harassment.
Both O’Reilly and Fox News quickly responded to Kelly’s monologue, which went viral on social media.
O’Reilly’s representative sent reporters images of thank-you notes he said O’Reilly received from Kelly when the two worked at Fox News, while O’Reilly appeared on Glenn Beck’s radio show.
“I don’t know why she’s doing what she is doing,” he said. “I have helped her dramatically in her career.”
In a statement shortly after the segment, 21st Century Fox, Fox News’ parent company, said it stood behind Briganti.
21st Century Fox (parent company of Fox News) statement:
“Irena is a valued colleague and she has our full support.” https://t.co/8z9IYMm3Ls
— Yashar Ali ???? (@yashar) October 23, 2017
Kelly’s shift away from politics on daytime TV has not faced the warmest reception.
Television critics panned the first several weeks of her show, awkward clips of her segments have gone viral repeatedly, and her ratings have dropped significantly since the premiere.
Watch the clip below via NBC:
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) October 23, 2017