Image Credits: Megyn Kelly / Youtube

On Thursday morning, reporter and former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly teased a response to the movie Bombshell, a 2019 film detailing the exposure of former Fox New CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment. Kelly was one of multiple women who accused Ailes of sexual harassment at Fox News, which resulted in his July 2016 firing. The three minute long teaser and caption reveal that Kelly was not consulted on the movie and had no input on the final product.

The full length video was uploaded to Kelly’s YouTube page on Thursday afternoon. In the introduction, she shows part of the movie’s trailer and establishes the people she watched the movie with – Juliet Huddy, Rudi Bakhtiar, and Julie Zann, all former Fox News employees who “lived” the movie’s story, in addition to Kelly’s husband Douglas Brunt.

The women talk about the movie being a bit surreal because of their lack of involvement in the movie; it was their stories being portrayed by characters that looked very similar to them. They overall did not have any qualms with the characters portraying them, but Megyn pointed out a few things that were outright false.

The first of these falsehoods was the suggestion that Kelly had ran her debate question for Trump by Roger Ailes and Fox News owner Ruport Murdoch. She vehemently denies that it occurred. The debate in question is the first Republican presidential debate in August 2015, when Kelly asked then-candidate Donald Trump to explain some of his insults towards women he doesn’t like. Also, the “notion” that Ailes “liked” the question that Kelly asked because it “created controversy” was also wrong – Kelly states that Ailes hated the question. Kelly also explains that there were no protests against her at the 2016 RNC Convention.

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The largest falsehood is the scene where Margo Robbie as Kayla Pospisil confronts Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly. In it, Robbie’s character blames Theron’s character for protecting Ailes and allowing for him to continue victimizing other women. Zann admits that the scene comes off as victim blaming and wholly inaccurate. The women support Kelly and praise her for supporting other women and for speaking up when she did. Kelly jokes that the scene was “written by a man” because in the #MeToo movement, no victim blames another victim for not speaking up.

In response to a question on the movie’s portrayal of women grappling with workplace harassment, Zann states that sometimes, people reduced what she was going through by asking her if she was ever “hit on” by Ailes while at Fox News. She continued by responding to that question with “You have no idea what it actually felt like…it went farther than ‘let me take you out to dinner’.”

One scene that they all strongly reacted to was the “elevator scene”, where Theron, Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson, and Robbie are all in an elevator on their way to Ailes’ office. The tension in the movie’s scene was palpable and it put all four of the women in tears. Zann admits that Margot Robbie’s scenes were very close to what she actually experienced. She even alleges that her refusal of Ailes’ advances is what caused the loss of her job. Zann and Kelly discuss conversations they had with Ailes’ and how he attempted to tiptoe around the “heirarchical relationship” that they all had, alluding to the fact that he was technically their boss.

Bakhtiar says that her character’s exchange with the character portraying former Fox News anchor Brian Wilson was for the most part true. She says that as soon as she submitted a complaint against Wilson for his comments, she was removed off of his show and lost her position at Fox News. Huddy claims that former Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly would call her late at night and “took care of himself” without expressly informing her. 

One of the topics that was included in the teaser and in the video was “the spin.” Ailes allegedly asked his female anchors and workers to spin, or show off their body to him. All of the women claim that Ailes asked them to do it. One of Kelly’s most powerful quotes comes during this segment: 

I was asked to do the spin… and God help me I did it…I know people think ‘Oh, you had to spin around,’ but 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 from all of my programs. And now he wants me to twirl? And I did it…If you don’t get how demeaning that is, I can’t help you.”

Kelly reiterates that all of these advances were about power. 

The women discuss their hesitations with outing Ailes’ behavior. They say that he was charitable and generous and in their heads, it made up for all the times that he had made advances. There were staff that were covering for them, so they felt like it would be a futile attempt to report the actions. When Kelly discovered that the initial investigation into Ailes’ behavior would only be limited to a few employees, she stated that she felt like it was time to speak out. Zann admits that the leak of Kelly’s name to the press after she came forward made her reach out and say, “Me too.”

The video is 30 minutes in its entirety but is definitely worth the watch. Even if it’s an uncomfortable watch, we need to know that it’s okay to speak up against sexual harassment and that more often than not, you are not alone. 

Jillian K
CABINET