After leaving her primetime show on Fox news in January, Megyn Kelly became a host on NBC’s “Today” show, where she delivers tame segments on topics such as family camping trips and toothpaste.
Furthermore, Kelly has recently championed women’s rights in regard to sexual harassment, and detailed in her memoir “Settle for More” the appalling sexual advances made by her former boss at Fox, Roger Ailes. When conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly was dropped by Fox News — also due to sexual harassment allegations — Kelly gave a moving monologue on the “Today” show about the importance of speaking out against misconduct at work.
While I am glad that she has recently encouraged women to fight for their rights in the workplace, Kelly’s current attitude towards sexual assault seems more like an attempt to stay relevant after her controversial career on Fox spewing conservative outrage than a genuine attempt to champion women’s’ rights.
The way she reported during her 12 years at Fox was dangerously divisive, fanning the flames of sexism and racism that Kelly now suddenly claims to no longer be a part of. Her reactionary past should still not have been forgiven and rewarded with a new television show at a different network despite her seemingly good intentions. Megyn Kelly should no longer have a presence on TV.
As host of the “Kelly Files,” Kelly featured a story about a sexual assault case where the accused was possibly innocent. She repeatedly shamed the accuser for having sex on other occasions and sensationalized the text messages sent about how the accuser was wearing a “slutty dress.” Kelly went on to suggest that people who report sexual assault “might deserve a little intimidation.”
Additionally, during another segment, Kelly asserted that regulations against sexual harassment have “almost entirely eliminated the rights of men.” Such evidence illustrates that, while she was at FOX, Kelly contributed to a harmful culture regarding sexual harassment that vilifies the victim.
Her previous reporting conflicts with her new NBC-friendly message of female solidarity, but her recent change of views prove that her opinions are merely opportunistic; she has no credibility and deserves no air time. Unless Kelly devotes her life undoing the damage she has done and becomes a true feminist spokesperson, she shouldn’t be taken seriously.
In addition to her murky record on sexual assault, Kelly has consistently stroked fears about black activism. On the “Kelly Files,” she clearly enjoyed showing clips from what she claimed was the “new Black Panther Party” in order to spark white panic about peaceful social justice-based protests.
During her outraged reporting on black activism, she equated the most radical members present at Black Lives Matter protests with the entire movement, repeating the most incendiary BLM slogans to scare white viewers instead of reporting on substance. Kelly never created a constructive dialogue on the issues that BLM protests, instead advancing reactionary and divisive opinions.
In one of her most infamous news segments, Kelly declared to all of the children who could possibly be watching Fox news that “Santa just is white.” She insisted the imaginary man who invades the homes of kids every year to bring them presents is white. Through comments like these, Kelly consistently affirmed intolerance and prejudice ingrained within the U.S. How can her toxic journalism been so quickly forgotten while she cooks with Dr. Oz on NBC?
These are only a few examples of Kelly’s highlights while a reporter at Fox. She also fanned right-wing fears about immigration, Planned Parenthood, and President Obama. Conservative journalism is important, but Kelly’s reports were often based on outrage, panic, and half-truths rather than a sober perspective.
Her accusatory reporting style has led to an awkward transition to daytime television, where Kelly has attempted to transform herself into a friendly, Oprah Winfrey-like persona. However, she has already stepped on toes while on NBC.
She asked a fan (albeit jokingly) if he “became gay” because of his love for the TV show “Will and Grace,” and in a different instance she interrupted Tom Brokaw when he began criticizing the National Rifle Association after the Las Vegas shooting. Her uncomfortable fit at NBC is also evidenced by her show’s ratings, which have been abysmally low.
How is Kelly still given any legitimacy by the media after her outrageous career at Fox? As much as she tries to leave her past behind while dancing with audience members and making holiday crafts, she remains toxic and should no longer have a public platform.