There’s trouble behind-the-scenes at Megyn Kelly Today, according to a new report. A member of the show’s staff was fired after making allegations against the show’s work culture, which are in direct contrast to what the show’s host, and NBC, is trying to fight in the aftermath of Matt Lauer’s termination.
Daily Mail reports that the staffer alleged the work environment on the set of Megyn Kelly Today is “toxic and demeaning” and rife with bullying and “abusive treatment.”
The staffer is identified as Kevin Bleyer, a writer on the show. He complained that Megyn’s two top executives, Jackie Levin and Christine Cataldi, were “bullying” lower level members of staff. Soon after sending an email to NBC News human resources, he was fired.
Considering the fact that Megyn Kelly is confronting sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace, it’s ironic a staffer with her show — or on NBC as a whole — would encounter this problem in light of the movement taking place.
Bleyer is an Emmy-winning former writer for The Daily Show and speechwriter for President Barack Obama. He tore into the show’s management in his email, calling executives incompetent and running things in a dysfunctional manner. Levin and Cataldi were accused of submitting lower-level staffers to “abusive treatment, maddening hypocrisy, staggering inefficiencies, acidic and deficient communication, and relentless scapegoating.”
The former Megyn Kelly Today writer claimed that Levin “persists in creating a toxic and demeaning environment,” while Cataldi “enables and reinforces it.” In his account, Cataldi regularly called her assistant “an idiot” and when he offered suggestions for the program, Levin called him a “f**king whiner.”
Bleyer noted the irony in how the organization as a team have been “lauded for covering harassment stories daily on-air, while the staff producing those stories feels so embattled and bullied themselves.”
— Page Six (@PageSix) January 19, 2018
According to the axed writer, veteran staff members are looking for a way out, with some requesting they be reassigned to other departments within NBC. In his words, many other staffers have confided in him and believe sensitivity training isn’t enough because the culture is so firmly embedded at the top.
In Bleyer’s email, he wrote that if he’s fired for complaining he’ll file a lawsuit. The writer said he’s personally overheard Levin and Cataldi talk about replacing staffers who speak up for themselves or “offer any kind of pushback.”
An NBC News executive responded to the report about the Megyn Kelly Today staffer’s firing, saying that Jackie and Christine “are being attacked unfairly.” The executive added that the two are “excellent and experienced producers” who have the full support of everyone at the studio. The reason for Bleyer’s firing had to do strictly with him the “wrong fit” for the job since he was “a comedy writer at a morning news broadcast.”
Why Megyn Kelly will not travel to cover the 2018 Winter Olympics with NBC: https://t.co/E3W3hqKFKP
— Us Weekly (@usweekly) January 19, 2018
In other news surrounding the show, it was reported this week that Megyn Kelly isn’t heading to South Korea with the rest of the cast to cover the Winter Olympics. Us Weekly reports that the reason for that is to keep the second hour of Today’s momentum going. Since Kelly has been inviting guests on her show who share their own experiences with harassment and bullying, ratings are steadily improving. She and the network decided it’s best she stay in New York and continue on that streak. Network insiders told the magazine that Megyn was willing to do what executives wanted, but they mutually agreed that she staying put was the right thing to do. She doesn’t want to take the chance on missing out “on another big exclusive” if she’s overseas while she’s leading the way in #MeToo interviews.
“The show is experiencing such momentum that it just made sense to keep it in New York with Kathie Lee and Jenna Bush Hager to follow at 10 a.m.,” a network source said.
The insider continued that there’s “zero” tension over the decision that Megyn Kelly isn’t traveling to South Korea.