Sports Illustrated editor accuses Megyn Kelly of 'bullying' Naomi Osaka

The editor of Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Edition blasted conservative pundit Megyn Kelly after she attacked tennis star Naomi Osaka for her recent decision to not conduct media interviews and pull back from the public eye, citing mental health concerns.  

"Well, first of all, we did that shoot back in December of 2020," said editor M.J. Day during an interview with People magazine. 

Kelly earlier this week accused Osaka of not being genuine about wanting to take a step back from the public spotlight, noting she appeared on a series of recent magazine covers. Osaka shot back, saying those media appearances were produced well before her decision to take a break.


"Seeing as you’re a journalist I would’ve assumed you would take the time to research what the lead times are for magazines, if you did that you would’ve found out I shot all of my covers last year," Osaka told Kelly in a since-deleted tweet. "Instead your first reaction is to hop on here and spew negativity, do better Megan." 

After confirming Osaka's account of the timeline of events, Day accused Kelly, a longtime conservative media firebrand, of bullying the tennis superstar and vocal social justice activist. 

"It's such bullying and it's so unnecessary, and this woman did nothing wrong," Day told People. "I'm like, 'You know what, you're journalists. How about you do your job and you fact check instead of jumping all over this woman for attention'?"

Day, in an Instagram story after Kelly made her comments about Osaka, told Kelly to "direct your vitriol somewhere else."

"It broke my heart to see someone who is really living her life for the betterment of others while also trying to pursue her own passion, which is tennis and fashion," Day concluded. "Let her live. Let her make decisions for herself that protect her own wellbeing. It's at no cost to anyone."

Osaka said her recent struggles with anxiety and depression led to her decision to not compete in this year's French Open and said media coverage of her had played a role in her mental state.  

“I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris,” she wrote in a statement at the time.