Megyn Kelly used her new platform to speak out against Bill O’Reilly and her former employer, claiming her complaint to the network about the host’s behavior went ignored.
Her comments, made on Monday’s Megyn Kelly Today, followed a report Saturday by the New York Times that found O’Reilly paid $32 million to settle sexual harassment allegations before his contract was renewed.
Kelly’s remarks began by calling the news “shocking” and “upsetting” and saying she had spent the weekend “on the phone nonstop, talking to many women at Fox News and otherwise.” Then she addressed Fox News’ parent company’s claim that it was improving the network and O’Reilly’s claim that the Times “has maliciously smeared” him—that no woman in 20 years has complained to the company about him.
Maybe that is true. Fox News was not exactly a friendly environment for harassment victims who wanted to report, in my experience. However, O’Reilly’s suggestion that no one ever complained about his behavior is false—I know because I complained. It was November of 2016, the day my memoir was released. In it, I included a chapter on Ailes and the sexual harassment scandal at Fox News—something the Murdochs knew I was doing and, to their credit, approved.
Kelly said she wrote an email to the co-presidents of Fox News and that one of them called her in response, “promising to deal with O’Reilly.”
By 8 p.m. that night, O’Reilly had apparently been dealt with. 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.
Kelly ended the segment by naming the media relations chief of Fox News, Irena Briganti, who Kelly said is “known for her vindictiveness.”
To this day, she pushes negative articles on certain Ailes accusers, like the one you are looking at right now. 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. But this must stop. The abuse of women, the shaming of them, the threatening and the retaliation, silencing of them after the fact, it has to stop.
The settlement, with network analyst Lis Wiehl, was three times larger than any of his previous known settlements and was due to “allegations of repeated harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship and the sending of gay pornography and other sexually explicit material to her,” according to the Times. The report revealed that 21st Century Fox knew about the settlement before extending O’Reilly’s $25-million-a-year contract.
As Daniel Politi wrote in Slate, this sixth reported payment is notable not only for its size, but also because it is the first in which it seems the Murdoch sons, who are 21st Century Fox executives, “made the calculated decision to paper over the accusations and stand by O’Reilly.” The company insists it did not know about the amount of the settlement. After previous reporting by the Times, O’Reilly was fired in April.