Megyn Kelly watched ‘Bombshell’ with former Fox News journalists and shared what the movie got right and wrong

Charlize Theron in

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Charlize Theron in “Bombshell,” left, and Megyn Kelly.
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Lionsgate Movies/Fox News
  • Megyn Kelly shared a YouTube video on Thursday of her watching “Bombshell” with former Fox News employees and her husband.
  • “Bombshell” tells the story of Kelly, the former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, and other women who came forward with sexual-harassment allegations about Fox News’ then-CEO, Roger Ailes.
  • After screening the movie, Kelly led a discussion in which she and former Fox News journalists who had also come forward with allegations of sexual harassment reflected on the movie’s accuracy and the emotions that came with watch it.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Megyn Kelly has responded to the movie “Bombshell,” sharing what she thinks the film got right and wrong about her story as well as stories of women who were victims of sexual harassment at Fox News.

“Bombshell,” which opened in theaters in December, is based on the sexual-harassment allegations at Fox News that led to the downfall of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. Gretchen Carlson, played by Nicole Kidman, filed a lawsuit accusing Ailes of sexually harassing her. After news spread of Carlson’s lawsuit, Kelly, played by Charlize Theron, along with several other Fox News employees, came forward with stories of their own.

Kelly, who left Fox News in 2017 and then hosted her own NBC News show until 2019, shared a 30-minute YouTube video on Thursday, which was her first detailed reaction to the film since its release.

Kelly wrote in a tweet: “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to say anything re Bombshell, a film re sex harass. at Fox. But in the end I wanted the women who lived it to have the last word. A group of us got together & watched, cried, & set the record straight.”

“The movie ‘Bombshell’ is a Hollywood film about the sexual harassment scandal at Fox News. I have no connection to the film, and hold no stake at all in it. I do, however, have a connection to many of the women who actually lived it,” she wrote in another tweet.

In the video, Kelly is seen watching the movie in a small theater with her husband, Douglas Brunt (who’s played by Mark Duplass), along with Juliet Huddy (the former host of Fox News’ “The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet”), Rudi Bakhtiar (a former Fox News reporter) and Julie Zann (a former associate producer of “Fox News Live”).

After screening the film, Kelly led a discussion with Brunt, Huddy, Bakhtiar, and Zann, and the group dissected the film, discussing what they felt it got right and wrong.

Kelly said the movie’s depiction of her infamous 2015 GOP debate question was not completely factual

Theron, Nicole Kidman, and Margot Robbie in

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Theron, Nicole Kidman, and Margot Robbie in “Bombshell.”
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BRON Studios/GEM Entertainment

“Bombshell” depicts a 2015 presidential debate question that Kelly asked Donald Trump: “You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs,’ ‘dogs,’ ‘slobs,’ and ‘disgusting animals.’ Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?”

In the movie, there’s a scene in which Kelly runs the question by Fox News’ owners, the Murdochs – before the debate. In her YouTube video reflecting on “Bombshell,” however, Kelly called the scene “a fantasy.”

“I never ran it by Ailes or the Murdochs or anyone other than my debate team, so that was not true,” Kelly said.

“The notion that Ailes liked the Donald Trump woman question because it created controversy and a ‘TV moment’ was not true,” Kelly continued. “Roger did not like the question at all, and was very angry at me for asking it, and at one point had said to me, ‘No more female-empowerment stuff.'”

She added that the film’s portrayal of people protesting her at the GOP convention was not factual.

“There were certainly no protests of me at the GOP convention,” she added.

The women said the movie’s elevator scene was among the most powerful and hard to watch

In “Bombshell,” one scene showed Margot Robbie’s fictional character, Kayla Pospisil, in the elevator with Carlson and Kelly; Kayla was called to Ailes’ office, and she joined Kelly and Carlson in the elevator. Carlson was called to the same floor as Kayla, though she was about to be fired and didn’t know it yet. The scene has no dialogue – just an ominous soundtrack.

“When we sat in the theater just now and the elevator scene came on, I feel like we all cried,” Kelly said.

“When she got that call and went in the elevator, I lost it because you immediately go to what happened to you and what her fate was,” Zann said.

Former reporter Rudi Bakhtiar reflected on the scene that depicts her denying sexual advances from another Fox News anchor

Nazanin Boniadi as Rudi Bakhtiar in

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Nazanin Boniadi as Rudi Bakhtiar in “Bombshell.”
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Lionsgate

Another scene in “Bombshell” depicted Rudi Bakhtiar, played by Nazanin Boniadi, and the Fox News anchor Brian Wilson, played by Brian d’Arcy James. In the movie, Wilson told Bakhtiar he would give her a promotion if he could “see the inside of her hotel room.”

In Kelly’s YouTube video, Bakhtiar said the scene was accurate. Bakhtiar rejected Wilson’s advances, and he took her off his show the next day, she said in the reaction video.

“The scene really happened that way,” Bakhtiar said. “The words in my head were not accurate, but it really did. That’s exactly what happened to me. That was the last time I was in DC for Fox News. He actually took me off his show the next day – he was still an anchor then, after I had said ‘no.'”

“As soon as I complained, I lost my job,” she added. “It just seemed wrong that just not showing someone my hotel room and the rest that went with it, my whole career tanked.”

Kelly and the former Fox News employees felt that the film accurately captured the emotional aspect of sexual harassment

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Theron in “Bombshell.”
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Lionsgate

“I think they did a good job trying to give a realistic portrayal of what it’s like. I thought it was pretty good,” Juliet Huddy said.

“I think this is such a powerful movie, Megyn. It really puts people in our shoes,” Bakhtiar said. “Margot Robbie does a great job of being the victim.”

Huddy, Zann, Bakhtiar, and Kelly said the “spin” depicted in the movie – in which Ailes would ask employees to stand and physically twirl around while they were in his office – was a reality of working at Fox News. Kelly said she was asked to spin for Ailes.

“I was asked to do the spin, and, God help me, I did it,” Kelly said. “I remember feeling like I put myself through school, I was offered partnership at Jones Day, one of the best law firms in the world; I argued at federal courts of appeal all over the nation; I came here, I’m covering the United States Supreme Court; I graduated with honors from all of my programs; and now, he wants me to twirl. And I did it.”

Kelly continued, saying: “If you don’t get how demeaning that is, I can’t help you. In retrospect, I’d give anything if I had said no.”

Kelly’s husband said Charlize Theron was talented but ‘one-dimensional’ playing his wife

Charlize Theron in

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Charlize Theron in “Bombshell,” left, and Megyn Kelly.
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Lionsgate Movies/Fox News

“I feel like I can’t speak to the job Charlize Theron did because I’m just too close to it,” Kelly said in the YouTube video. “It’s just too weird to see someone who looks just like you on the screen pretending to be you.”

Her husband, Brunt, responded, saying Theron looked the part when it came to portraying Kelly.

“Physically it was there,” he said. “I thought the voice was forced trying to get down deep and low, and I thought it was just a little one-dimensional and didn’t capture some of your humor. But I thought she did a nice, you know, she’s talented.”

Kelly also said she wished she had done more to speak up sooner about sexual harassment at Fox News

“It’s funny because I look at the Me Too movement, and at no point in my view, did victim number 17 blame harassment on victims one through 16,” she said. “That’s not the way this movement has shaken out.”

She continued in the video, saying: “Doug asked me, ‘Would you take that scene out of the movie if you could?’ and I said no, because the truth is that I’ve looked back on my own life, every moment from that moment forward, and I do wish I had done more.”

Kelly said: “What if I had thrown myself in the fire back then? Maybe that wouldn’t have happened to you.”

Watch the full “Bombshell” discussion video on Megyn Kelly’s YouTube channel.