“Are you feeling it? It’s unbelievable!” Megyn Kelly said on her NBC morning show about the cascading allegations of sexual harassment, assault and rape against powerful men in various industries.
Kelly opened her program reading the quickly growing list of well-known men who have been accused — a list she had to update before going on the air to include NBC News contributor Mark Halperin, who her bosses suspended hours earlier, in the wake of a CNN report about five women alleging he had harassed them years ago when at ABC news.
“On and on and on it goes! Every day another one, at least another one. Sexual harassment, misconduct, assault, even rape,” Kelley said, opening her program.
Kelly holds a unique position in this story. The Megyn Kelly Today host previously was a star at Fox News Channel, where she joined the list of women claiming to have been harassed by chief Roger Ailes. Then, this past Monday, Kelly revealed she had complained about Bill O’Reilly to Fox News co-presidents.
Over the weekend, in response to a NYT report O’Reilly allegedly struck a $32 million sexual harassment payment with a Fox News legal analyst a month before 21st Century Fox gave him a four-year contract extension, O’Reilly claimed no woman in 20 years ever made a claim to human resources, or legal, about him. Kelly said on air that she had, in fact, written to Fox News co-presidents Bill Shine and Jack Abernethy, in November 2016 about O’Reilly’s treatment of women.
“This is the morning news these days!” Kelly marveled at the top of her Thursday broadcast. “The numbers are growing so quickly, it’s hard to keep track of all the men accused of not just sexual misconduct, predatory, predatory sexual behavior.
“Movie producer Harvey Weinstein, you’ve heard about that one, now accused by at least 65 women of misconduct, over three decades. Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, who reportedly settled at least six harassment claims, to the collective tune of $45 million, one for $32M right before Fox News renewed his contract.
“Famed screenwriter and director James Toback, behind such films as Bugsy and The Pick Up Artist,…accused of harassment by over 200 women, stars and others, including our own Natalie Morales at NBC. He has denied the allegations.
“Not to mention, it must be said, President Trump, accused during the campaign by a dozen women of misconduct or sexual assault. He denied it. Former President Bill Clinton repeatedly accused of sexual assault, he denied it. Even 93-year-old former President George H.W. Bush is now accused of inappropriately groping two women on the backside from his wheelchair, for which he has now apologized. But there are others coming forward. Others coming forward. So many others.
“Celebrity Chef John Besh, CEO of the Besh restaurant group, according to more than 25 women, they fostered a culture of sexual harassment. He has now apologized. This is all in the past week or two.
“Photographer Terry Richardson, famous for his celebrity portraits of Beyonce and Lady Gaga and now, infamous for his alleged sexual exploitation of fashion models — claims he has denied. The UK’s ‘Sunday times’ calls this guy ‘the Harvey Weinstein of fashion.’
“Television producer Chris Cevino, an animator at Nickelodeon, who was fired by the network last week after repeated accusations of sexual harassment as well as threats of blacklisting female colleagues who were no longer in consensual relationships with him.
“Artforum magazine publisher Knight Landesman, who resigned yesterday, hours after a lawsuit was filed here in New York accusing him of sexually harassing at least nine women.
“You’re still with me?” Kelly checked in with her studio audience. She continued:
“Television executive Roy Price, who resigned from his post at Amazon studios amid allegations he sexually harassed a producer.
“Veteran magazine editor Leon Wieseltier who admitted ‘offenses’ against female colleagues at the New Republic magazine. Several women had said he humiliated them with unwanted kisses on the mouth.
“Dozens of women this week from the California and Illinois state legislators who, in open letters, detailed alleged harassment they have suffered while in public service.
“And then breaking just this morning, journalist and NBC political analyst Mark Halperin stands accused of sexual harassment. According to CNN, which broke the story, five anonymous women have come forward with stories of his alleged misconduct while working for ABC News more than a decade ago. Halperin has said ‘I am deeply sorry and I apologize.’ MSNBC this morning put out a statement that reads, ‘we find the story and the allegations very troubling. Mark Halperin is leaving his role as a contributor until the questions around his past conduct are fully understood.'”