In her rocky passage from Fox News to the lighter touch of NBC’s “Today” show, Megyn Kelly has been at her best channeling her own experiences. Some of her most compelling recent television has tackled the “Me Too” movement.
On Monday, the host dove headfirst into the controversy swamping her current network when Kelly addressed the allegations aimed at former NBC “Nightly News” anchor Tom Brokaw. The subject – the intersection between network insider politics and personalities – is one Kelly knows well.
“I just came from Fox where we just went through this,” she said on Monday.
As reported in the Washington Post and Variety, a former NBC correspondent named Linda Vester has come forward to allege Brokaw sexually harassed her on two occasions in the 1990s. The former news anchor has since vigorously denied the allegations, saying Vester was a “character assassin.”
Sitting with NBC correspondents Stephanie Gosk and Kate Snow, Kelly discussed the network’s response to the allegations. The panel also noted that a petition is now circulating among dozens of current and former female co-workers pledging their support for the anchor, whom they described as “a man of tremendous decency and integrity.” Among those signing were Rachel Maddow, Andrea Mitchell and Maria Shriver.
Kelly, however, offered such a letter is “basically a character reference” but can also be “dicey.”
“I understand that because when you love the person under attack you want to say, ‘This has been my experience,’ ” Kelly said. “I will say that the same thing did happen at Fox. And the truth is, you don’t know what you don’t know. And that’s not in any way to impugn Tom, who I love and who has been so good to me. I’m just saying, you don’t know what you don’t know.”
In her November 2016 book “Settle for More,” Kelly documented her own sexual harassment while working at Fox News. In the book, Kelly claimed she was targeted by network head Roger Ailes, who Kelly said promised to help her career in exchange for sexual favors. Similar allegations eventually led to Ailes’s ouster in 2016.
On Monday, Kelly told viewers she initially approached Fox News leadership about Ailes’s behavior 10 years after he made the offers, just as host Gretchen Carlson leveled a sexual harassment suit against Ailes. Kelly said on Monday her statements on the network boss invited suspicion and reaction from her own colleagues.
“When I came out and talked about it publicly, the news anchors would ask me, ‘Why didn’t you report it?’ ” Kelly told her morning audience. “I finally found the right response, which was, ‘You don’t get to ask me that question anymore until you ask me first whether there was a safe avenue for reporting in my company. And only if the answer to that is yes do you get to ask question number two.’ ”
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