NBC's new "Today" host says she "complained" about O'Reilly "shaming women into shutting the hell up about harassment."
Megyn Kelly has fired back at former Fox News colleague Bill O'Reilly for refuting a New York Times article reporting a $32 million pay out to settle sexual harassment allegations from a longtime network analyst.
"O'Reilly calls the Times report a malicious smear, claiming that no woman in 20 years ever complained to human resources or legal about him," Kelly said Monday on her NBC daytime talk show. "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."
Kelly, who left Fox News in January, proved her point by reading an email she sent the then-co-presidents of the cable news network, Bill Shine and Jack Abernethy, in November 2016 about how the anchor used his platform to criticize the women who have become victims of sexual assault.
"Perhaps he didn't realize the kind of message his criticism sent to young women across this country about how men continue to view the issue of speaking out about sexual harassment," she wrote in the email. "Perhaps he didn't realize that his exact attitude of shaming women into shutting the hell up about harassment on grounds that it will disgrace the company is in part how Fox News got into the decade-long Ailes mess to begin with."
The email continued, "Perhaps it's his own history of harassment with women, which has, as you both know, resulted in payouts to more than one woman, including recently, that blinded him to the folly of saying anything other than, 'I'm just so sorry for the women of this company who never should've had to go through that.'"
Kelly said in response to her email, Shine did call her to promise that he would "deal with O'Reilly."
"By 8 PM, O'Reilly apparently had 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 said.
The anchor then played a clip of O'Reilly on-air that night criticizing victims approach to dealing with sexual harassment claims. Instead of going public with allegations, O'Reilly encouraged people to go to human resources or leave the company.
"This is not unique to Fox News. Women everywhere are used to being dismissed, ignored or attacked when raising complaints about men in authority positions. They stay silent so often out of fear," Kelly said.
O'Reilly has already responded to Kelly, too, telling Glenn Beck on The Blaze Monday that his former colleague "didn’t file a complaint," or at least, "Not that I know of."
"I never had any problem with Megyn Kelly," O’Reilly said. "I don’t know why Megyn Kelly is doing what she’s doing. I don’t know why ... It is incomprehensible."