The presidential election sent a clear message to women and it wasn’t good, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly tells The New York Times in an interview published Wednesday.
“There were a few themes that came out of 2016, and one of them is, as women, we have a long way to go, a long way to go,” Kelly told Times columnist Jim Rutenberg. “There is a tolerance for some considerable level of sexism and in some corners — let me underscore I’m not referring to Trump specifically, just what we saw this year — even misogyny.”
Ever since Kelly came out swinging in the first GOP debate, asking Donald Trump about his record of degrading comments about women, the Fox anchor, who is currently renegotiating her contract for a reported $20 million, has become a somewhat unlikely feminist voice during this bitter election year.
She’s making the rounds now to promote her memoir, Settle for More. The book includes explosive allegations of sexual harassment against her former boss, Roger Ailes. Kelly claims Ailes sexually propositioned her and tried to threaten her job. She says she complained to others at Fox and the behavior stopped.
In a statement, Ailes vehemently denied those charges.
The anchor was instrumental this summer in getting Ailes ousted from his job after other women at the network came forward with their own harassment allegations.
Harassment allegations may get you fired from Fox, but as we now know they don’t prevent you from winning the presidency.
To some, including this reporter, Kelly’s acknowledgment of the misogyny and sexism of 2016 is more a statement of obvious fact than a philosophical revelation.
Yet it’s still striking coming from someone at Fox, known for its conservative slant and intolerance of feminism. This is a network that proudly displays women as objects ― under glass-topped tables designed to show off their legs.
Trump viciously attacked Kelly in the weeks after that first debate ― resorting to the kind of name-calling she had initially asked him about. After Trump retweeted someone who called Kelly a “bimbo,” the anchor’s 5-year-old daughter asked her mom what the word meant. That was one of Kelly’s “lowest moments,” she’s said.
Though many women have embraced Kelly’s new feminist role. Not everyone is thrilled. Her colleague Bill O’Reilly told CBS this week that Kelly’s book is making the network look bad.