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Megyn Kelly, who left Fox News in January before joining NBC, opened up to Seth Meyers about why she decided to call out Bill O’Reilly when his rep stated that no one at the network filed a complaint about sexual harassment or misconduct. The host of Megyn Kelly Today explained it was a combination of O’Reilly’s statement, “what’s happening in the country” at this time, and the latest report from The New York Times that revealed O’Reilly settled a different claim for $32 million before his contract was renewed.
“It was time,” Kelly told Meyers on Late Night Wednesday. “It was time to tell that story. I take no pleasure in discussing Fox News in that way because I had a lot of good years there and they’re not all bad, they’ve got some great people. He is not one of them.”
“Litigations happen all the time and a lot of them are nonsense and you pay some small amount to make them go away,” she said earlier. “$32 million is a different story and he was renewed at the company after he did that and I know that Fox says it didn’t know — the question remains why didn’t they? Why wouldn’t you know? Why wouldn’t you ask when you bring this man back into the workplace and unleash him on the workforce?”
According to a statement from 21st Century Fox, the Fox News parent company knew about O’Reilly’s settlement before deciding to extend his contract. “His new contract, which was made at a time typical for renewals of multi-year talent contracts, added protections for the company specifically aimed at harassment,” the statement continued, “including that Mr. O’Reilly could be dismissed if the company was made aware of other allegations or if additional relevant information was obtained in a company investigation. The company subsequently acted based on the terms of this contract.”
O’Reilly continues to deny any allegations of harassment.
Mark Fabiani, his rep, claimed, “In the more than 20 years Bill O’Reilly worked at Fox News, not one complaint was filed against him with the Human Resources Department or Legal Department by a coworker, even on the anonymous hotline.” However, Kelly took a moment on her show, declaring, “O’Reilly’s suggestion that no one ever complained about his behavior is false. I know, because I complained.”
Kelly told Meyers how she hates when victims and accusers are asked why they didn’t report it. “The first question you need to ask is, ‘Was there a safe avenue for reporting?'” she said. “And only if the answer to that question is yes do you get to ask that next question because, let me tell you, the answer to that question was no at my workplace for years. There wasn’t.”
Referring to the now-ousted Roger Ailes, she explained, “HR was controlled by the CEO who was harassing half of the women in the building and so it was not a meaningful outlet. And even if it had been, I’ve spoken with so many women about this, they’re afraid. Even if HR is a real option, it doesn’t always go your way if you don’t win this contest. You know, if you take a shot at the king, you better kill ‘em. You’ve heard that saying? If you don’t win this, you know, showdown, you know what’s gonna happen to you.”
“So my feeling is, it’s fine,” Kelly added. “For the record, we need to say, ‘Report. Go report it. Report it.’ But I also feel like it’s easy for me and you to say, we’ve got these great jobs and we’ll be fine if we get fired. The reality is, (a) women, and it can happen to men too, need to form an underground army where they talk to each other and know they’re not alone, and (b) men in positions of power — and women, we need more of those, but men in positions of power need to not only stick up for us publicly but in the bars and at night time and when we’re not there and when they’re talking about us in this way and when we’re walking out and they’re looking at our ass. Those are the moments you need to stand up and say, ‘Dude, no.’”
Watch Kelly in the clip above.