Megyn Kelly is finally speaking out about the movie Bombshell, which explores sexual harassment at her former employer, Fox News. And she's assembled others who were victims of that harassment to tell their stories with her.
"I wasn't sure if I wanted to say anything re Bombshell, a film re sex harass. at Fox," the lawyer-turned-anchor tweeted last Thursday before posting the nearly 30-minute segment on her Megyn Kelly YouTube and IGTV channels later in the day.
"But in the end I wanted the women who lived it to have the last word. A group of us got together & watched, cried & set the record straight."
Kelly is portrayed in Bombshell by Charlize Theron, who said she didn't talk with the anchor before doing the film because she thought it would put too much pressure on both of them.
The group that viewed Bombshell before sitting down to talk included Kelly, Juliet Huddy, Rudi Bakhtiar and Julie Zann, plus Kelly's husband, Doug Brunt.
Since leaving NBC News last January, Kelly has been producing segments for her digital channels.
The former Fox News women agreed that the moviemakers got a lot right but did take liberties. Kelly, in particular, called out a few moments that were out-and-out falsehoods, including the notion that she'd run a debate question for now-President Donald Trump past Rupert Murdoch.
The group also had a strong negative reaction to a scene in the film where Margot Robbie's character essentially blames Kelly's silence for the continuing harassment, and Theron's Kelly responds, "Look around, snowflake. How do you think I succeeded? How do you think a woman gets a prime-time Fox show?"
"When I watched that scene, I immediately thought, 'This is shameful,' because it's unfactual," Zann said, tearing up. "And it is victim shaming, and if this is a movie about sexual harassment, this is sending the wrong message."
Zann said Kelly had been a support system. "That is what they don't have right in this film."
Kelly said she was "too close" to it to critique Theron's performance: "It's just too weird to see somebody who looks just like you on the screen pretending to be you," she said.
Her husband, though, had his own quibbles with Theron's portrayal of his wife.
"Physically, it was there. I thought the voice was forced, trying to get down deep and low," Brunt said. "And I thought it was just a little one-dimensional and didn't capture some of your humour and charm. But ... she's talented."
"She's incredibly talented," Kelly agreed.
Kelly shared personal journal entries that lined up with scenes from the movie. They detailed awkward episodes of harassment by the late Roger Ailes, then chairman of Fox News. Kelly also talked to the women about doing "the infamous spin" in Ailes' office. Bakhtiar said she was asked to but didn't do it. Huddy said she was told only to stand up and turn around, at which point Ailes criticised her backside and told her she was too skinny. Zann said she had been asked to spin, and spin she did. She then asked if Kelly had.
"So I was asked to do 'the spin,'" admitted the former prime-time anchor, who left Fox News in 2017 for an abbreviated stint at NBC News. "And God help me, I did it."
Then Kelly explained why it was a such a big deal.
"I know people think it's like, 'Oh, you had to spin around,' but I remember feeling like - I put myself through school. I was offered a 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 honours from all my programs - and now he wants me to twirl?
"And I did it," Kelly said. "If you don't get how demeaning that is, I can't help you."
Bombshell is now in cinemas.
- Tribune News Service