Megyn Kelly tears up watching ‘Bombshell,’ discussing sexual harassment: ‘I do wish I had done more’
Former Fox News host Megyn Kelly got emotional while speaking about the work culture that she and other women faced at the network after watching its portrayal on-screen in the new movie “Bombshell.”
In a video posted to YouTube on Thursday, Kelly broke her silence about the film, which depicts the ouster of Fox CEO Roger Ailes after accusations of sexual harassment were leveled against him by ex-anchor Gretchen Carlson, played by Nicole Kidman. Kelly is portrayed by Charlize Theron.
Kelly reacted to the movie in a video on her YouTube channel with former Fox co-workers Juliet Huddy, Rudi Bakhtiar and Julie Zann. Kelly’s husband, Douglas Brunt, joined the private screening as well.
The women all became emotional in the theater while watching a scene where Margot Robbie’s fictional character of Kayla, a composite of several women at Fox News, blames Theron’s character for not reporting the sexual harassment she experienced years earlier.
“When I saw that scene I thought it was shameful, because it’s unfactual and it is victim-shaming, and this is a movie about sexual harassment. This is sending the wrong message. You were just a real support system, and I know that it wasn’t just me. It was for a lot of other people,” Zann said.
Kelly, however, said the clip represents real regret she struggled with for years. In the YouTube video, she turns to Zann, who said she experienced nearly identical harassment several years later.
“I’ve looked back on my own life, every moment from that moment forward and I do wish I had done more. Even though I was powerless, even though it would’ve been a suicidal move for me career-wise, what if I had just said ‘screw it’?” she said, choking up. “Maybe that wouldn’t have happened to you.”
Huddy said Kelly’s apprehension to speak out shows the “reality” that women face losing their jobs for complaining about harassment in the workplace.
Kelly then took a swipe at NBC, the network she left early last year that has faced its own controversy for how it handled allegations of harassment and abuse.
“I can tell you, having gone from Fox to NBC, it’s going to be very much like the last place,” she said.
Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes in July 2016, alleging that she had been fired for rebuffing Ailes’s advances. Several other women followed, accusing Ailes and other prominent employees of sexual harassment.
Kelly later told investigators that Ailes, who died in May 2017, had made unwanted sexual advances toward her at the start of her career, including forcibly kissing her.
Ailes, who is portrayed in “Bombshell” by John Lithgow, denied the allegations against him.
Kelly on Thursday read out a list of events in the film that she says didn’t happen.
“They suggest that I had run my debate questions for Trump by the Murdochs. That’s a fantasy. I never ran it by Ailes or the Murdochs, or anyone other than my debate team,” she said.
“The notion that Roger liked the ‘Donald Trump woman question’ because it created controversy in a TV moment was not true,” she added. “Roger did not like the question at all and was very angry at me for asking it and at one point eventually asking me, ‘No more female empowerment stuff.’”
The women said the movie got some things right, such as Ailes asking them to “twirl” for him.
Bakhtiar said she didn’t do it, while Huddy said: “He never did the twirl thing to me. He would say, ‘Turn around let me see your ass. You’re too skinny, gain some weight.’”
Kelly admitted to doing the spin for her then-boss and spoke of how “demeaning” it felt.
“I remember feeling like, I put myself through school. I was offered partnership at Jones Day, one of the best law firms in the world. I argued before federal courts of appeal all over the nation. I came here. I’m covering the United States Supreme Court. I graduated with honors in all of my programs and now he wants me to twirl. And I did it,” she said.