Former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly’s departure from the network was partially inspired by the behavior of colleague Bill O’Reilly, according to a new report.
Kelly was frustrated by O’Reilly’s criticism of her for publicly discussing sexual harassment she experienced at Fox, The New York Times reported Friday.
The Times said Kelly sent an email to Fox executives complaining about O’Reilly’s behavior during his appearance on “CBS This Morning” in November.
O’Reilly criticized Kelly for discussing how former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes allegedly sexually harassed her in a book she released the same day as his interview. Ailes left the network in July amid several several sexual harassment claims against him and a lawsuit from former anchor Gretchen Carlson.
“Look, it’s open season,” O’Reilly said when asked about Kelly’s claims. “Let’s whack the Fox News Channel. I’ve had enough of it. It’s a good place to work. All right?”
Four people with knowledge of Kelly’s reaction said she sent an email to Fox executives warning them of the intimidating impact O’Reilly’s remarks might have on women who had faced harassment.
O’Reilly delivered a second public scolding later that evening despite reportedly knowing of Kelly’s email and an “O’Reilly Factor” producer pleading with him not to mention the issue.
“If you don’t like what’s happening in the workplace, go to human resources or leave,” O’Reilly said on his prime-time show.
Two people familiar with Kelly’s thinking told the Times she left Fox for NBC News in January partially due to O’Reilly’s behavior and how her former network handled it.
Reports emerged earlier this month that five women accusing O’Reilly of sexual harassment received a total of $13 million for agreeing not to pursue litigation or talk about their accusations.
Over 90 companies have pulled their ads running during “The O’Reilly Factor” amid widespread outrage over the allegations.