Megyn Kelly, one of the most powerful and popular anchors at Fox News, has reportedly spoken with investigators regarding her former colleague Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment charges against Fox News chair Roger Ailes.
According to two sources who spoke with New York Magazine, Kelly told investigators that she too was a victim of sexual harassment by Ailes. According to a source, who spoke to the New York Magzine, Kelly also helped to rally a former Fox anchor to speak out about the harrasment she had experienced at the hands of Ailes, including being kissed against her will.
The source, who had been briefed on the investigation into Ailes, told the magazine that Kelly had decided to come forward about her own harrasment because she saw other women within Fox coming to Ailes' defense. The source said "Megyn thought the other side of the story needed to be told."
Unlike a number of her Fox colleagues, including Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren, who have publicly defended their boss, Kelly had maintained her silence regarding Carlson’s accusations that Ailes canceled her show and fired her after she refused his sexual advances.
Nor did Kelly comment when six other women, including former Fox hosts, later joined Carlson in making sexual harassment claims against Ailes.
The Drudge Report has stated that Fox stars Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity have threatened to leave if Ailes is fired. On Wednesday Breitbart News reported that over 50 on-air personalities will walkk if Ailes is forced out but one Fox source told the New York Magazine that there is no internal chatter about a mass exodus and story is "made up."
Kelly broke her silence on the matter on Tuesday. As Gabriel Sherman reported:
“According to two sources briefed on parent company 21st Century Fox’s outside probe of the Fox News executive, led by New York–based law firm Paul, Weiss, Kelly has told investigators that Ailes made unwanted sexual advances toward her about ten years ago, when she was a young correspondent at Fox. Kelly, according to the sources, has described her harassment by Ailes in detail.”
By Wednesday morning Ailes had launched a counteroffensive against Kelly. Fox spokesperson Irena Briganti emailed reporters a list of glowing remarks Kelly has made about Ailes over the years.
However, Ailes's lawyer, Susan Estrich, denies the allegations. She told The Hollywood Reporter "Roger has spent the last 10 years helping Megyn Kelly become the star that she is.”
Kelly's testimony appeared to be the final straw for the Murdoch family, who own 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News. Rupert Murdoch and his sons, Lachlan and James, have allegedly fired the 74-year-old Ailes, who built Fox News from nothing into the cable news giant it is today, from his role as chairman.
That Ailes would look to Trump at this juncture is somewhat ironic, given how hard Ailes came down on Trump for his attacks against Kelly following the to-the-point questions about his attitude towards women that Kelly put to the GOP candidate during the first debate. The questionning infuriated Trump and led to further misogynistic remarks on Trump’s part.
It is understood that Fox is keen to make sure that Kelly, who over the past few years has become one of their biggest stars, competing with her fellow Irish American Bill O’Reilly for top ratings, will not decamp for another network when her contract is up at the end of this year.
According to The Drudge Report, Ailes will be kept on a consultancy basis until June 30, 2017, during which time he will be paid his current $6.25 million salary in addition to bonuses for 2016 and 2017 – a sum of nearly $40 million by the time it’s all said and done.
It will be very interesting to see what the future could look like for Fox News without Ailes or their star anchor Kelly.