In the wake of the latest bombshell about Bill O’Reilly’s $32 million settlement for sexual harassment of Lis Wiehl, Megyn Kelly and her former Fox News colleague Juliet Huddy revealed just how tough it is for women to come forward after they are sexually harassed.
Before Huddy came on, Kelly relayed her own experience complaining about O’Reilly after he trashed her on CBS for writing about sexual harassment from former Fox CEO Roger Ailes. She noted that what she had written had been screened and approved by the Murdochs. Let’s just say that Fox did not seem to take her concerns seriously.
Huddy, who reportedly settled her own sexual harassment case against O’Reilly and co-president Jack Abernathy, in the “high six figures” became emotional discussing it all. Although Huddy’s allegations against Abernathy were not discussed, Kelly pointedly noted that Abernathy still works for Fox.
Also still there is PR chief Irena Briganti who, Kelly said, is “known for her vindictiveness.” Kelly added, “To this day, she pushes negative articles on certain Ailes accusers like the one you are looking at.”
I give kudos to Kelly for exploring this topic with sensitivity and fairness.
But if she seemed a little too eager to jump in to argue on Fox’s behalf with attorney Douglas Wigdor (who represents many plaintiffs suing Fox for racial discrimination as well as the potentially explosive Rod Wheeler case), let us not forget Kelly’s history at Fox News advocating on behalf of men accused of rape.
Kelly seems to have taken the correct side on what are probably the two most famously disproved rape cases in recent memory, the 2015 UVA case and the 2006 racially-charged Duke lacrosse case. However, in the Duke case, Kelly (then known as “Megyn Kendall”) took reporting over the line into advocacy on behalf of the white lacrosse players and against the black accuser. In fact, I’d argue that that was the case that sent her star rising, years before she bogusly went on a racial campaign against Attorney General Eric Holder.
I’m not trying to knock Kelly here. I wrote in 2016 that I thought her feud with Donald Trump made her reconsider what she was doing at Fox News. But I also said that since she was still there, it was important to look past her carefully calculated YouTube moments and see the full picture.
Since she has not repudiated any of her earlier work, I see no reason to forget it now.
But none of that is to negate the good and important work she did today. Watch it below, from the October 23, 2017 Megyn Kelly Today.
Juliet Huddy is in a much more unhappy situation. She is stuck with the fact that Fox News and Right Wing outlets will never hire her again, and at the same time, more mainstream outlets are unlikely to hire her after having seen years of her appearances on Fox News and not finding her to be a personality they wish to hire. It’s a major problem for many people who have worked at Fox News – when you leave there, you have no credibility with any legitimate news organization, and it doesn’t just happen that you get to jump from making snarky comments on Fox & Friends to getting a local anchor position at a CBS affiliate somewhere. Huddy is looking at real problems working in this industry, and it’s not all due to her lawsuit – it’s due to the years she spent working for an organization that is known for having made this country a much coarser place than it had been before Fox News existed.
This is not to discount the real harassment Huddy and many other people at Fox News suffered. It is just to note that it’s quite rare to see an on-air personality at Fox News successfully land anywhere else. Greta van Susteren had a career before she went to Fox News – not so much afterwards. Brit Hume had over 20 years at ABC before he jumped to Fox News – and never could go anywhere else afterward. I daresay that even Chris Wallace will be able to ever find another position outside of this one channel.
She makes Aisles look svelte.
No heart, no soul, plenty of stomach and guts.