A fired writer from Megyn Kelly’s flagship NBC show has claimed that a “toxic and demeaning” environment on the set has seen staff bullied, humiliated, and abused by the show’s two co-executive producers.
The allegations were made in an email sent by Kevin Bleyer to NBC’s Erin Hogan, director of human resources for the Today show. After Bleyer was fired, he apparently forwarded the email to numerous other former colleagues at the network.
In the missive, Bleyer calls out by name the two top co-executive producers on Megyn Kelly Today, writing: “Jackie Levin persists in creating a toxic and demeaning environment, and Christine Cataldi enables and reinforces it.”
Bleyer—an established writer who has won four Emmys for his work on The Daily Show and is the bestselling author of Me the People: One Man’s Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution of the United States of America— sent the email to NBC News human resources, and was fired shortly afterward.
However, NBC has denied he was fired because of the email, saying he was sacked only because he was not a good “fit” for the job.
Megyn Kelly has dedicated many on-screen hours to the #MeToo movement and NBC has encouraged staff to come forward and report workplace bullying.
In the email, Bleyer appears to predict his own firing, writing: “Jackie and Christine previously intended (and perhaps still do intend) to replace staffers who offer any kind of pushback or speak up for themselves. I have personally overheard these conversations myself. If that happens—if there is any retaliation at all—I anticipate there may be further action through official legal avenues.”
However, an NBC News rep told the New York Post’s Page Six, “Jackie and Christine are being attacked unfairly. They are both excellent and experienced producers, and have the full support of everyone here.”
Of Bleyer’s firing, NBC told Page Six: “He was let go for one reason only: He was the wrong fit for this role, as a comedy writer at a morning news broadcast.”
Nonetheless, the email, which also contains an extensive log of incidents of alleged scapegoating and bullying, looks set to cause a fresh headache for NBC in the wake of the Matt Lauer scandal.
In the note published by the Mail, Bleyer writes: “It is a special absurdity—and what some find a hard-to-swallow injustice—that as a team we’ve been lauded for covering harassment stories daily on air, while the staff producing those stories feels so embattled and bullied themselves. As a result, veteran staffers are looking for the exits… Others have told me they’d ask to be reassigned elsewhere within NBC. I should add that many of those who have confided in me have made it plain: Sensitivity training will not suffice. Their feeling is you can’t change these tigers’ stripes.”