The XX Factor

Megyn Kelly Says Roger Ailes Sexually Harassed Her

FOX news host Megyn Kelly looks on during the Republican Presidential debate sponsored by Fox News at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa on January 28, 2016. 

Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Since former Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News chairman/CEO Roger Ailes nearly two weeks ago, the network has been under investigation and Ailes is reportedly being forced out by the Murdochs, who own Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox.

Now, according to New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman, new details from the investigation are emerging, namely that one of Fox News’ most recognizable faces, Megyn Kelly, told investigators that she was sexually harassed by Ailes 10 years ago. Sherman writes:

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According to two sources briefed on parent company 21st Century Fox’s outside probe of the Fox News executive, led by New York–based law firm Paul, Weiss, Kelly has told investigators that Ailes made unwanted sexual advances toward her about ten years ago when she was a young correspondent at Fox. Kelly, according to the sources, has described her harassment by Ailes in detail.

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The details of the harassment are not yet known, but based on Carlson’s complaint and this roundup of Ailes’ workplace misogyny from Media Matters, it’s easy to extrapolate how he treated Kelly. Two lowlights from the post include:

Sherman reports that Ailes “had admiration for [former Fox host Catherine Crier’s] legs” and was livid when she appeared on-air wearing pants:

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“Be more opinionated,” he told Crier in one meeting. “The guests are there as a foil for you.” He also disagreed with her dress. “He had admiration for her legs,” a senior executive said. In one meeting, Ailes barked, “Tell Catherine I did not spend x-number of dollars on a glass desk for her to wear pant suits.” [The Loudest Voice in the Room, pg 238]

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Elsewhere in the book, discussing Megyn Kelly’s famous walk through the newsroom on election night in 2012, Sherman quotes a Fox employee saying, “This is Fox News, so anytime there’s a chance to show off Megyn Kelly’s legs they’ll go for it.”

Kelly herself has pointed to Fox News’ retinence to crack down on misogyny. In a May interview with Andy Cohen, she called out her fellow Fox News hosts for not being more supportive when presidential candidate Donald Trump attacked her both in person and on social media. According to Emily Jane Fox in Vanity Fair, she didn’t shy away from naming her Fox News colleagues:

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When Cohen asked if she had received support during the Trump saga from Bill O’Reilly, Kelly gave a flat no. “We don’t really keep the same hours, so I never really see Bill. I see him on TV like most of the American population. So, no.” Cohen then asked whether she had heard from “major feminist” Greta Van Susteren throughout the ordeal. “Not directly, no,” Kelly admitted. “But honestly, she is very busy.”

In the interview Kelly also slammed male television executives for asking young female reporters to “twirl” around so they could get a 360 degree view of their talent. “Executives, you need to stop doing that,” she said. “It’s 2016. It’s time to use your eyes from the front.”

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