Megyn Kelly Subjected to Charlie Rose ‘Cross-Examine’ on Fox Sexual Harassment

Opening her 9 a.m. ET hour show on Tuesday, NBC’s Megyn Kelly shared a story about being interviewed by now-disgraced PBS and CBS anchor Charlie Rose. After noting that she considered Rose a “friend” and that “this is not a pleasant story for me,” she told her audience: “Still, I wanted to share a story with you, not about harassment, but of an underlying dynamic between men and women that contributes to this culture in which inappropriate conduct goes unaddressed.”

“Last November, my book came out. I asked Charlie to emcee my very first book event,” Kelly recalled. She explained: “It was supposed to be a celebratory event, discussing the full scope of the book, which is about my life and my career and the lessons learned.” The daytime host continued, “Instead, the exchange felt to me like a cross-examine focused on one issue, the book’s sexual harassment allegations against Roger Ailes. Allegations Ailes denied but I know are true because I lived it.”

 

 

“I felt defensive in the exchange with Charlie. And wound up angry about how he handled my book event,” Kelly added. She concluded: “Obviously now his behavior makes more sense.”

The host lamented her polite reaction to Rose’s questioning at the time:

And so, you know what I did? I sent him a bottle of wine and a thank you note....The reason I sent him the book and the – the wine and the thank you note is that I believed it was better to be nice. I believed it was better not to express my anger or upset. I believed it was better to brush it off and pretend that hadn’t happened. But I think it’s well past time for us to express our upset. For us to not worry about being nice and being liked and being kind and never causing offense.

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Referring to the wave of sexual harassment allegations sweeping entertainment, politics, and the news media, Kelly declared: “The time has come. We are in the middle of an empowerment revolution in this country. And the only way forward is for women to get comfortable – get comfortable throwing some sharp elbows, making waves, and taking risks and holding the powerful to account.”

Here is a transcript of her November 21 account:

9:01 AM ET

(...)

MEGYN KELLY: We’re going to begin with accusations of sexual harassment now reaching one of television’s best-known broadcasters, Charlie Rose. You heard about this? Yesterday, a bombshell. Eight women who worked with him, five anonymous and three who agreed to be named on the record, say he sexually harassed them with unwanted advances, uninvited and repeated full nudity, groping, and lewd phone calls. Rose has been suspended now from his roles at PBS, CBS, and Bloomberg. Just hours ago, CBS This Morning began its first show without him.

NORAH O’DONNELL: This will be investigated. This has to end. This behavior is wrong. Period.

GAYLE KING: Charlie does not get a pass here. He doesn’t get a pass from anyone in this room. He doesn’t get a pass because I can’t stop thinking about the anguish of these women.

KELLY: The Washington Post reporter on the story says in a tweet that her inbox is flooded with women who have had similar disturbing encounters with Rose, in addition to the ones who have already come out. For his part, Rose said in a statement, “It is essential that these women know I  hear them and that I deeply apologize for my inappropriate behavior. I am greatly embarrassed. I have behaved insensitively at times, and I accept responsibility for that... I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken.”

I have known Charlie for years. I consider him a friend, I saw him socially from time-to-time. So this is not a pleasant story for me. Still, I wanted to share a story with you, not about harassment, but of an underlying dynamic between men and women that contributes to this culture in which inappropriate conduct goes unaddressed.

Last November, my book came out. I asked Charlie to emcee my very first book event. It was supposed to be a celebratory event, discussing the full scope of the book, which is about my life and my career and the lessons learned. Instead, the exchange felt to me like a cross-examine focused on one issue, the book’s sexual harassment allegations against Roger Ailes. Allegations Ailes denied but I know are true because I lived it. I felt defensive in the exchange with Charlie. And wound up angry about how he handled my book event. Obviously now his behavior makes more sense.

And so, you know what I did? I sent him a bottle of wine and a thank you note.

[APPLAUSE]

No, no, but I’m making a different point. I feel like everyone out there is like, “Yup,” because they know this is what we do. The reason I sent him the book and the – the wine and the thank you note is that I believed it was better to be nice. I believed it was better not to express my anger or upset. I believed it was better to brush it off and pretend that hadn’t happened. But I think it’s well past time for us to express our upset. For us to not worry about being nice and being liked and being kind and never causing offense.

I think it’s as hard as it is for women like those that Charlie allegedly harassed, to stand up for themselves in the moment and thereafter. And it is so hard. It’s so hard, especially for young women not in powerful positions. The time has come. The time has come. We are in the middle of an empowerment revolution in this country. And the only way forward is for women to get comfortable – get comfortable throwing some sharp elbows, making waves, and taking risks and holding the powerful to account. It is not – yeah.

[APPLAUSE]

It’s not generally how we were raised. It’s not generally how we were raised as young women. But it’s the only way forward for us. An it’s going to require a lot of courage, especially for women not in powerful posts. Courage like that demonstrated by the women speaking out in droves right now, often at great risk to themselves, professionally and personally. Often dredging up a lot of pain and shame and then blowback on the internet to try to help others with their stories.

(...)


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