Megyn Kelly’s TODAY hour has increasingly focused on conversations around sexual misconduct, and on Tuesday morning, the new host opened her show by recounting an encounter with a public figure who’s newly in the headlines on the topic: Charlie Rose.
Kelly told her audience in a relatively somber tone that, in the wake of the allegations against the iconic television personality, she wanted to tell her own story. “This is not a pleasant story for me,” she began. “Still, I wanted to share a story with you not about harassment, but of an underlying dynamic between men and women that contributes to this culture in which inappropriate conduct goes unaddressed.”
Kelly recalled how she looked up to Rose and asked him to host her first event for Settle for More, her recent book, last November. But the conversation between the two did not go as planned: Rather than discussing “the full scope” of the book and her story, Kelly explained, Rose was fixated on one particular topic. “The exchange felt to me like a cross-examine, focused on one issue, the book’s sexual harassment allegations against [former Fox News head] Roger Ailes, allegations Ailes denied but which I know are true because I lived it,” Kelly explained. “I felt defensive in the exchange with Charlie and wound up angry with how he handled my book event. Obviously now his behavior makes more sense.”
As sexual misconduct allegations against Ailes built in the summer of 2016, it was reported that Kelly — who was still at Fox News at the time — had disclosed to Murdoch investigators that her former boss had harassed her. Kelly confirmed this in Settle for More, which detailed his alleged inappropriate behavior. Ailes resigned from his position, and Kelly’s decision not to publicly support him is considered a key reason for his ousting.
Kelly’s story about Rose came one day after the CBS This Morning anchor was accused of sexual misconduct, including groping and lewd remarks, by eight women in a Washington Post report. “In my 45 years in journalism, I have prided myself on being an advocate for the careers of the women with whom I have worked,” Rose said in a statement. “Nevertheless, in the past few days, claims have been made about my behavior toward some former female colleagues…It is essential that these women know I hear them and that I deeply apologize for my inappropriate behavior. I am greatly embarrassed. I have behaved insensitively at times, and I accept responsibility for that, though I do not believe that all of these allegations are accurate. I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken.”
Rose, who hosts Charlie Rose on PBS in addition to This Morning, has been suspended by both CBS and PBS in the wake of the allegations. On Tuesday’s CBS This Morning, Rose’s co-anchors Nora O’Donnell and Gayle King spoke frankly about the alleged behavior. “This is a moment that demands a frank and honest assessment of where we stand and, more generally, the safety of women,” O’Donnell said. “Let me be very clear: There is no excuse for this alleged behavior. It is systematic and it is pervasive…This will be investigated. This has to end.”