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Megyn Kelly left Fox News at least partly to get away from Bill O’Reilly

(Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

Bill O’Reilly continues to be the elephant in the room over at Fox News, driving away advertisers, bellowing at people, and, occasionally, taking a giant dump on the things the network finds precious. Like its relationship with former anchor and rising star Megyn Kelly, for instance, who departed Fox back in January in order to take a job at NBC. Now, The New York Times reports that the ongoing unpleasantness of sharing a network with O’Reilly’s piles of shit was one of the reasons for her move.

The Times received information from a number of anonymous sources saying Kelly sent an unhappy email about O’Reilly’s conduct last year, in the wake of the sexual harassment scandal that ousted CEO Roger Ailes from the company. The two network stars took very different tacks on the matter; Kelly wrote a book that contained a chapter describing sexual harassment at Fox and an incident in which Ailes harassed her, while O’Reilly—no stranger to these kinds of claims—loudly demanded that everyone involved keep quiet, declaring Fox “a good place to work” when asked about Kelly’s book.


His insistence on silence—and public implications, both on his show, and an appearance on Good Morning, America, that Kelly shouldn’t have opened up about the Ailes incident—apparently pissed her off but good, inciting the Kelly File star to send an e-mail to newly installed co-presidents Bill Shine and Jack Abernethy calling out O’Reilly’s “bad form.”

The Times doesn’t have the actual text of the email, but it was apparently pretty scathing; among other things, Kelly noted that Settlin’ Bill O’Reilly is quite possibly the last man on Earth who should be opening his mouth about sexual harassment claims. She also questioned whether Fox’s culture toward women—and the blind loyalty that allowed Ailes’ harassment to linger for so long—had actually changed in the aftermath of the former CEO’s departure.

Shortly after Kelly sent the e-mail, one of her producers learned that O’Reilly intended to double down on his call for keeping quiet on an episode of The O’Reilly Factor, and asked the company’s presidents to curtail the host’s comments. They didn’t, and O’Reilly ended up uttering some words that have turned out to be prophetic for Kelly’s time at Fox: “If you don’t like what’s happening in the workplace, go to human resources or leave.”

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