Unlike many of her Fox News colleagues, ex-corporate lawyer Megyn Kelly has remained silent about the sexual harassment allegations against network boss Roger Ailes.
She, of course, has the “right to remain silent,” as it were, but some believe her silence could be speaking volumes.
Against that backdrop, several of the FNC anchor’s colleagues are supposedly upset that The Kelly File star has yet to publicly defend Ailes after Gretchen Carlson filed her explosive lawsuit.
It could be that Megyn Kelly, whose contract is up for renewal next year, is just cautiously waiting until the dust settles, especially since parent company 21st Century Fox retained a promiment law firm to conduct an internal review of Gretchen Carlson’s accusations.
“Megyn Kelly, who has rocketed to fame on Fox News in the past few years, has yet to offer public remarks,” Variety reported. “Megyn Kelly, the most high-profile female anchor on the network, has yet to speak out about the controversy,” The Hollywood Reporter similarly observed.
Other loyal Fox News personalities such as Harris Faulkner, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Maria Bartiromo, Jeanine Pirro, and many others, along with several male counterparts such as Bill O’Reilly, have come to Ailes’ defense, although Carlson brushed off such expressions of support, telling the New York Times that “They’re still being paid by Fox.”
Pirro, the feisty host of Justice with Judge Jeanine, described the legal complaint as absurd, for example, and also pointed out that Gretchen Carlson apparently never lodged a complaint against Ailes with the network’s human resources department.
In her lawsuit filed in New Jersey Superior Court, Gretchen Carlson alleged among other things that about nine months ago, Roger Ailes told her, “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better.”
Two women have gone on the record with allegations against Ailes, but the incidents date back to 1989 and the late 1960s. Several other so-far unidentified women have reportedly claimed to be sexually harassed by Ailes, Politico noted.
Carlson, who apparently felt blindsided by the network, was last on the air on June 23. The former Miss America claims that her contract wasn’t renewed because she allegedly refused Ailes’ sexual advances. In a statement, Ailes responded that Carlson was let go for low ratings, and the misbehavior allegations are false.
Her former show, The Real Story, generated its highest ratings ever last week, but perhaps that was due to curiosity seekers after the news of Carlson’s lawsuit broke in a big way.
“Real Story is now up 11 percent in viewers and 21 percent in the demo in the two weeks since Carlson’s last day on June 23, compared to the prior two weeks that Carlson was on the air,” The Wrap detailed.
Apart from the fact that TV studios can sometimes be edgy behind the scenes, some employers, regardless of industry, operate in an unfair or arbitrary fashion. Whether that rises in a given situation to the level of illegal workplace discrimination, such as a hostile work environment, depends on the evidence.
According to an account in The Daily Beast, one anonymous Fox News insider, who may or may not reflect what others feel, claims that “Megyn is being selfish…it is pretty shocking actually.”
Earning about $15 million a year, Megyn Kelly has credited Roger Ailes for elevating her to TV megastar status, even remarking following her high-visibility feud with Donald Trump that Ailes is responsible for her popularity and giving her a “powerful platform” at 9 p.m. Eastern time Monday through Friday. Ailes hired Megyn Kelly from a Washington, D.C., TV station and also backed her during the long-running feud with the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.
Some Megyn Kelly non-fans have argued that when she essentially accused Trump of misogyny during the first GOP debate in August 2015 (which set an all-time viewership record), that line of questioning was less about journalism and more about careerism, and she was actually trying to burnish her credentials for a possible gig at ABC, CBS, or NBC once her current contract runs out.
“Sometimes keeping your own counsel is the right thing to do, as long as you’re not being pressured to jump on the boss’s bandwagon and be rah-rah. Just go about your work, maintain your equilibrium, and be quiet. Megyn is the most visible star on the network, so keeping her head down is probably just fine,” an unidentified Megyn Kelly friend explained to The Daily Beast about her silence about the Roger Ailes-Gretchen Carlson matter.
Another unnamed source, described as a TV insider, remarked to the Beast that “No one’s expecting her to come out and defend Ailes like some of these other people have, but just some sign of appreciation for the man who gave her the opportunity would suggest that she’s not just out for herself.”
"Megyn Kelly, the most high-profile female anchor on the network, has yet to speak out about the controversy."https://t.co/XuYgaoTbzt— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) July 11, 2016
On the other hand, the Washington Post insisted it is premature to draw any conclusions from Megyn Kelly’s silence about Roger Ailes.
“Perhaps she just wants to do her job. Another possibility is that she’d like to support her boss but doesn’t want to appear to be dissing Carlson. And if it ever turns out that she faced treatment similar to what Carlson alleges in her complaint, she should address it — or not address it — on her own schedule.”
Reacting to the Gretchen Carlson lawsuit which currently names Roger Ailes as the only defendant, The Five co-host and former California prosecutor Kimberly Guilfoyle declared that she was in “Total disbelief. I’ve known Roger Ailes for 15 years and I have been treated with the utmost professionalism and respect…He’s been a fantastic mentor in television for me. This is a man who champions women.” Guilfoyle added, “Nobody believed this. Nobody that I’ve spoken to said that this was their experience.” Again, as alluded to above, many other Fox employees have come forward with a similar endorsement of Roger Ailes.
Not all of the Roger Ailes defenders are still on the payroll. Kiran Chetry had a contentious separation from Fox News after seven years as a result of a contract dispute. “Over the years at Fox, I met with Roger Ailes one-on-one many times and never once did Roger ever make me feel uncomfortable or put forth any sexual advances. I can’t speak for Gretchen since I wasn’t in the room obviously but I will tell you that I never felt uncomfortable around Roger Ailes,” Chetry wrote for the Huffington Post.
It remains to be seen how Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment case against Roger Ailes pans out, especially since her contract may require the dispute to go to binding, private arbitration rather than to open court, assuming it gets that far. To date, no one knows “The Real Story,” so to speak.
As things stand now, do you think that Megyn Kelly has an obligation to defend her boss Roger Ailes from the Gretchen Carlson sexual harassment allegations or is it reasonable to keep quiet?
[Photo by RW/MediaPunch/IPX]