Megyn Kelly Is Leaving Fox News For NBC. If You’re Celebrating, Maybe Hold Off on That for a Minute

Yay or nay?

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It takes a rare person that can be respected by both sides of opposing ideologies. It’s impressive in its own way. Also impressive? Managing to be hated by both sides. Megyn Kelly is both respected and demonized by both liberals and conservatives, which is probably the most impressive feat of all.

The hate part of that is out in full force today, after Kelly announced that she would be leaving Fox News, her professional home of 12 years, for NBC.

I very strongly don’t suggest you read the comments on that post, as they’re mostly limited to Fox fans flinging demeaning insults at this “traitor,” and letting her know why they stopped watching her show already anyway. (Funny, considering she’s the second-most-watched anchor on the network.) A similar response came after Kelly hosted the August 6th debate and asked Trump about his comments on women:

“You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs,’ ‘dogs,’ ‘slobs’ and ‘disgusting animals.’ …It was well beyond Rosie O’Donnell. Your Twitter account has several disparaging comments about women’s looks. You once told a contestant on ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees.

Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president, and how will you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton, who was likely to be the Democratic nominee, that you are part of the war on women?”

Yeah, that didn’t sit well with a lot of Trump fans or Fox News fans (in as much as that Venn Diagram isn’t already a perfect circle). Trump made his famous “blood coming out of her wherever” comment and went on a Twitter rampage. Kelly later described in her book that there was so much vile hatred stirred up that she and her family had to hire a security detail. A Fox News rep actually had to tell Trump’s team (according to Kelly’s book), “Let me put it to you in terms you can understand: ‘If Megyn Kelly gets killed, it’s not gonna help your candidate.'”

Kelly had also, prior to the debate, faced backlash from many who didn’t appreciate her speaking out against Roger Ailes, the now-former-Fox News executive accused of sexually harassing her and fellow host Gretchen Carlson.

So, the backlash against her today isn’t exactly surprising, though still upsetting. But what has the response been from more liberal-leaning NBC viewers? Well, there isn’t quite as much vitriol, but there’s plenty of skepticism, as well there should be. When Megyn Kelly took on Donald Trump during the run-up to the election (in addition to all the Fox News guests and fellow hosts she’s taken to task for their misogyny), many saw her as an unlikely feminist hero. And while she herself rejects the term “feminist,” it’s not a stretch to respect the ways in which she embodies and advocates what most of us would call feminism. She spoke out against sexual harassment, calls out powerful men for their actions and their words, and refuses to allow Fox News guests to make her apologize for being a woman with opinions.

And yet, for those who feel emboldened by Kelly’s brand of (non)feminism, it can be easy to overlook the ways in which she fit in perfectly at Fox News. If you can compartmentalize the way she stood up for a certain kind of woman (read: women just like her), then you’re ignoring a lot of things. Like, for instance:

That time she said Santa has to be white.

–Jesus, too. (According to the same clip.)

–When she said that “sexual” and “skanky” Beyoncé is a great face for the “modern feminism” she so disdains.

–She said a 15-year-old girl attacked by a police officer “was no saint, either.”

–She loves the word “thug.”

That’s just a drop in her bucket. She regularly gave the platform of her show to bigots, climate change deniers, homophobes, and more. She has criticized including a pro-choice stance or access to birth control as basic women’s rights.

None of this is to say that Megyn Kelly shouldn’t be on NBC news. She’ll be as good a fit there, I’m sure, as she was at Fox News. Meaning, she’s smart and charismatic and cut-throat. But she’s also an outlier with unpopular opinions. So if you’re viewing this as a win for the liberal-to-neutral media, just make sure you’re taking that perception with a grain of racist, homophobic, closed-minded salt.

(via NYT, image via Fox News)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.