Megyn Kelly Reveals She Complained About Bill O'Reilly to Fox News: 'This Must Stop'
Kelly said it gives her "no pleasure to report such news" about her former employer
Megyn Kelly is speaking out against her former network.
The former Fox News anchor, who was with the network for 12 years before making the switch to NBC, opened up about the company’s ongoing sexual harassment scandal on Monday’s broadcast of her morning show, Megyn Kelly Today.
“Fox News was not exactly a friendly environment for harassment victims who wanted to report, in my experience,” said Kelly, 46, before going on to specifically address her former colleague Bill O’Reilly, who called a recent New York Times report that he settled a sexual harassment suit for $32 million shortly before Fox News offered him a $100 million contract extension “false, defamatory” and “another smear article.” He insisted that in his 21 years at the company, “not one complaint was filed against him with the Human Resources Department or Legal Department by a coworker, even on the anonymous hotline.” (O’Reilly was fired by the network in April after numerous harassment claims came to light. He reportedly settled with five different women for a total of $13 million.)
“O’Reilly’s suggestion that no one ever complained about his behavior is false,” said Kelly on Monday. “I know because I complained.”
Kelly went on to reveal that she wrote an email to the co-presidents of Fox News, Bill Shine and Jack Abernathy, complaining about O’Reilly’s “history of harassment of women” on the day her memoir, Settle for More, was released in November 2016.
Her decision to write the email came after O’Reilly, 68, who happened to be on CBS News that morning, vehemently refused to discuss former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes‘ own sexual harassment scandal.
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“I did something that day I’ve never done before,” Kelly said. “I wrote an email to the co-presidents of Fox News, Bill Shine and Jack Abernethy — an email I have never made public but am sharing now, because I think it speaks volumes about powerful men and the roadblocks one can face in taking them on.”
“Perhaps he didn’t realize the kind of message his criticism sent to young women across this country about how men continue to view the issue of speaking out about sexual harassment,” she wrote in the email. “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’m just so sorry for the women of this company who never should’ve had to go through that.’ ”
Kelly said Shine called her and promised to her he would “deal” with O’Reilly.
“By 8 p.m. that night, O’Reilly had apparently been dealt with,” she continued. “And by that I mean he was permitted with management’s advance notice and blessing to go on the air and attack the company’s harassment victims yet again.”
O’Reilly told The Blaze that he wasn’t aware of Kelly ever filing a complaint: “I never had any problem with Megyn Kelly. I don’t know why Megyn Kelly is doing what she’s doing. I don’t know why. … It is incomprehensible.”
“I never had any problem with Megyn Kelly,” O’Reilly said. “I don’t know why Megyn Kelly is doing what she’s doing. I don’t know why … It is incomprehensible.”
During that evening’s broadcast of The O’Reilly Factor, O’Reilly said every employee owes “allegiance” to their boss or company, adding, “Don’t run down the concern that supports you by trying to undermine it.”
“This is not unique to Fox News,” Kelly said. “Women everywhere are used to being dismissed, ignored or attacked when raising complaints about men in authority positions. They stay silent so often out of fear. Fear of ending their careers, fear of lawyers, and often, fear of public shaming.”
“It gives me no pleasure to report such news about my former employer, which has absolutely made some reforms since all of this went down,” Kelly continued. “But this must stop. The abuse of women, the shaming of them, the threatening, the retaliation, the silencing of them after the fact. It has to stop.”
In response to Kelly’s statements, 21st Century Fox told The Washington Post that the company “has taken concerted action to transform Fox News, overhauling management and on-air talent, expanding training, and increasing channels through which employees can report harassment or discrimination.”