Even as she has devoted several episodes of her Today show hour to the subject of workplace sexual harassment recently, Megyn Kelly is opening up about the harassment she dealt with as a young reporter at Fox News Channel.
In an in-depth interview with Deadline, Kelly recounts her rise at Fox and talks about why she remained silent for 10 years after she says channel co-founder and CEO Roger Ailes harassed her.
And then you get a call to go meet with the big boss in New York and you think this is it. He’s noticed me. You’re in there and by nature you want to try and charm your boss. That is true of all of us male or female, and then there’s a moment in the meeting where it turned. Before you know it this person is talking to you in a way that is very familiar to you but shouldn’t be in the office setting. He’s lecturing you about how your very favorite anchor in the television industry slept her way to the top. ‘She was smart,’ he says. ‘Hopefully you’ll be smart too,’ he says.
Every instinct inside of you first says ‘no, no, no this isn’t happening.’ Maybe I misinterpreted it. Maybe I’ve heard him wrong. Maybe it’s a joke and I could just laugh it off and pretend it never happened. And the second thought is ‘I’m such an idiot.’ I thought I was being called up here for opportunity. I thought my hard work had been recognized. I thought this was a career trajectory kind of moment. Instead I’m looking at a dirty old man who wants to get in my pants.
Kelly says she slowly started making friends with other women anchors at Fox curious to know if they’d had the same experience. One friend told her, “absolutely not, he’s only been completely professional with me.” But it turns out she also accused Ailes of harassment after Gretchen Carlson filed her lawsuit and outside investigators began seriously looking into his behavior.
Kelly says the kind of power Ailes wielded, “was like being in North Korea and trying to criticize Kim Jong Un.”
Ailes was let go from Fox News in July, 2016. He died in May.