Saturday, April 15, 2017

Report: O’Reilly’s Behavior Helped Drive Megyn Kelly Out at Fox

Last fall, in the weeks after 21st Century Fox struck settlements with two women who said that Bill O’Reilly had sexually harassed them, the Fox News host went on morning television and offered a harsh assessment of women who had come forward with complaints about the network.

“Look, it’s open season,” he said, visibly irritated, when asked about a recently published book by Megyn Kelly, his colleague at the time. In the book, Kelly provided an account of being sexually harassed by Roger Ailes, the network’s former chairman. Later Mr. O’Reilly added, “Let’s whack the Fox News Channel. I’ve had enough of it. It’s a good place to work. All right?”

According to The NY Times, the comments set off a media firestorm and frustrated Kelly, who sent an email to Fox News executives complaining about his behavior and the chilling effect it could have on women at the company and beyond, according to four people with knowledge of the email who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.

Despite Kelly’s complaint, O’Reilly delivered a second public scolding on the program that night.

“If you don’t like what’s happening in the workplace, go to human resources or leave,” he said.

That experience, along with a deep skepticism about whether the network was truly committed to changing its culture after Mr. Ailes was forced out, was a factor in Ms. Kelly’s decision to leave Fox News for a new role at NBC News, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Her departure was a major blow to Fox News. Ms. Kelly was viewed as the network’s star of the future, and the Murdoch family, which controls 21st Century Fox, Fox News’s parent company, was prepared to pay her more than $20 million a year.

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