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- Speaking at Business Insider’s IGNITION conference, the NBC News anchor Megyn Kelly described being sexually harassed at Fox News.
- Kelly said Roger Ailes, the longtime chairman of Fox News, sexually harassed her at the start of her career there but that she initially did not recognize she was being harassed.
- Kelly urged women to report any sexual misconduct when it occurs.
Speaking at Business Insider’s IGNITION conference in New York, the NBC News anchor Megyn Kelly detailed sexual harassment she faced when working at Fox News.
Kelly said that at first she didn’t recognize she was being harassed.
Of Roger Ailes, the longtime Fox News chairman, Kelly said, “He was always bawdy and had an inappropriate sense of humor.”
Since she didn’t easily take offense to those kinds of remarks, Kelly said, she brushed them off.
“The harassment that I went through wasn’t obviously harassment in the beginning,” Kelly said.
But eventually, Kelly said, Ailes’ behavior toward her got “worse and worse and worse,” to a point where she felt she “couldn’t deny it.”
“It was explicit quid pro quo sexual harassment, which was basically: You sleep with me, and I’ll give you a promotion,” Kelly said.
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Even still, she laughed off the advances and tried to convince herself that nothing was happening, she said, because she didn’t want to have “a direct confrontation with him.”
But things came to a head when Ailes had Kelly meet him in his office, she said.
“That feeling I’ll never forget – of going in there and having him lock that door,” Kelly said. “It culminated in him trying to be with me physically, and it was only at that point where you couldn’t pretend it wasn’t happening anymore that I really had to come to terms with it. And I ran out of the guy’s office; he tried to grab me three times and make out with me.”
Each time Ailes grabbed Kelly she shoved him off her, she said. After the last time, Ailes asked her when her contract was up, she said.
Kelly said she reported Ailes’ behavior to a supervisor but was told to “steer clear of him.”
Kelly said that, though she was uncomfortable, because of the position she was in at the time, it seemed like good advice – but in retrospect, she said, it was “terrible.”
The NBC News host advised women to find a way to report inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace, even if it seems futile.
“I want to say to those women: I understand. It’s not that I’m oblivious of how hard it is to report,” Kelly said. “But I want to say: find a way. Because the culture – I don’t want to say has changed, but it is changing, meaningfully, by the moment, thanks to the women that are finding the courage.”
Ailes resigned as the CEO and chairman of Fox News in July 2016 after being accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women at the network, including Gretchen Carlson, who filed a lawsuit against him that month. Ailes died in May.