Megyn Kelly Says She Complained About Bill O’Reilly to Fox Presidents Months Before She Left

Megyn Kelly on Monday waded back into territory she vowed to leave behind, saying on her new NBC morning program that she complained about Bill O’Reilly while she was an anchor at Fox News but was ignored.

In an extraordinary monologue, Kelly went after O’Reilly, her former bosses and colleagues, accusing the network of fostering a toxic culture for its female employees.

“O’Reilly’s suggestion that no one ever complained about his behavior is false,” Kelly said during “Megyn Kelly Today.” “I know because I complained.”

Kelly has vowed to keep her program light and sunny, but the revelation on Saturday that O’Reilly paid $32 million to a Fox contributor, Lis Wiehl, to settle harassment allegations in January drew her back into a topic she might have wanted to avoid.

In November, two months before she left Fox for NBC, she emailed Fox’s co-presidents, Bill Shine and Jack Abernethy, to object to O’Reilly’s comments during a CBS News interview, she said. O’Reilly said at the time that he wasn’t “interested” in discussing a topic — sexual harassment — that “makes my network look bad.”

In response, Kelly said, she wrote to her bosses: “Perhaps he didn’t realize the kind of message his criticism sends to young women across the country about how men continue to view the issues of speaking out about sexual harassment.

“Perhaps he didn’t realize 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 [Roger] 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.’ ”

She said the response was that O’Reilly was “permitted with management’s advance notice and blessing” to appear on his program that night “to attack the company’s harassment victims yet again.”

Kelly also took a shot at Fox News’s chief media relations officer, Irena Briganti, saying she had abetted Fox’s attack on those who had complained about harassment. Briganti “is known for her vindictiveness,” Kelly said. “To this day, she pushes negative articles on certain Ailes accusers like the one you’re looking at right now,” meaning Kelly herself.

“This must stop,” she said. “The abuse of women, the shaming of them, the threatening, the retaliation, the silencing of them after the fact, it has to stop.”

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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Paul Farhi