Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly has some advice for those who encounter workplace sexual harassment.
“I would say to young women to whom this is happening now, if it were me now, I would at least seek out, in particular, a woman of power in my company who I felt could advise me well or could go to bat for me,” Kelly said Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.”
Kelly opened up about unwanted sexual advances she says she endured from her ex-boss, former Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, in her new book, “Settle for More.” Ailes stepped down in July amid a widespread harassment scandal including accusations from longtime “Fox & Friends” anchor Gretchen Carlson.
Kelly described how she had brought up the matter to a supervisor after the harassment began in August of 2005, but it was suggested she “just avoid him.”
“Now, as a lawyer, I can tell you that when that happens, a supervisor has an obligation to bring it to the company and deal with it. And the company could be exposed as a legal matter if that doesn’t happen,” Kelly said.
But Kelly, who stressed she’s not trying to get her former supervisor in trouble, said she believed the person tried to advise her “to the best of their abilities.”
“I think this person, too, understood his [Ailes’] power. I mean, Roger was like a king at Fox News. This was not somebody you would take on lightly,” Kelly said.
Kelly did end up avoiding Ailes, and “he left me alone after that,” she said. But she is trying to shine a light on the issue and put “companies on notice that we’re watching.”
“I think most women who this happens to have no clue what to do. They’re just scared. And like me, they just want it to stop. I didn’t want to put my career on the line,” Kelly said.
“You can talk loftily all you want about, you know, taking a stance,” Kelly added. “The reality is you’re going to get labeled as a troublemaker. That’s still the world in which we live… hopefully less so today than back when it happened to me.”
The day before Kelly’s appearance, Fox News colleague and anchor Bill O’Reilly was asked about Kelly’s book, which he said he had not read, and he commented on the controversies surrounding the network.
“I’m not interested in litigating something that is finished and makes my network look bad. OK?” O’Reilly said on “CBS This Morning” Tuesday. “I’m not interested in making my network look bad. At all. That doesn’t interest me one bit.”
In response to O’Reilly’s comments, Kelly said, “I believe that Roger Ailes made the company look bad.”
“I am very proud of the fact that I discussed this with Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch before I wrote this chapter in my book. And we were all on the same page, that this was an important chapter to include. And I am proud of them that they feel as I do, which is sunlight is the best disinfectant,” Kelly said of the company’s owners.
In her book, Kelly also described her scary “Year of Trump,” and the experience of reporting on a campaign that left her fearful at times for her and her family’s safety. On Twitter, the now-president-elect had called her a “lightweight,” “overrated,” “dopey” and “crazy” after she asked him a tough question at a Republican primary debate.
“It wasn’t a delightful year,” Kelly recounted.
She admitted it increased her name recognition, “but I would submit to you I was doin’ just fine before Donald Trump,” she said.
“It was full of darkness in many ways… and it was a personal struggle,” Kelly said.
But she was able to deal with it, she said, and likewise, one of the core messages of her book was that “adversity is an opportunity.”
“If you take a look at people who you admire who have accomplished amazing things — Oprah, right? President Obama, President George W. Bush, they seem to be operating on a higher plane at times,” Kelly said. “They seem to have a knowledge that many others don’t have. How did they get it? They had big challenges. They had bigger issues. And they exposed themselves to greater things. And I think to that extent, you can almost welcome adversity as a chance to grown and hopefully get yourself to that higher level.”
Now, she says her relationship to Mr. Trump is “in a better place.” Their meeting at Trump Tower in April helped.
“To his credit, he was able to move on, even though he had held onto his anger for nine months. … Ever since, he and I have had a fine relationship, you know. We’re not tight friends, but he’s treated me respectfully. And he’s withstood my coverage — which has been skeptical of him at times — without complaint. And that’s fine,” Kelly said.