Megyn Kelly, the former Fox News and NBC host, has spoken for the first time about how “demeaned” she felt when the disgraced, late CEO of Fox News Roger Ailes asked her to do a twirl for him in his office.
Kelly’s claim came in a video she posted Thursday that shows her discussing sexual harassment at Fox News with other female former employees of the cable-TV channel. The women spoke out following the release of Bombshell—a movie that portrays female Fox reporters’ experiences with Ailes and other senior men at the network, including former anchor Bill O’Reilly.
The former Fox employees who spoke about their experiences in the video were Juliet Huddy, Rudi Bakhtiar, and Julie Zann. Huddy previously accused Bill O’Reilly of trying to derail her career after she refused his advances, Bakhtiar says she was fired from Fox after complaining about sexual harassment toward her, and Zann has also accused Ailes of repeatedly sexually harassing her when she worked at Fox.
The women all said they had experience with one notorious Ailes practice—he would allegedly tell female employees to do a twirl for him in his office so he could inspect their bodies. Kelly accused the late Fox CEO of pressuring her into doing the spin for him during her time at the network. She previously accused Ailes of grabbing her and trying to kiss her.
“I was asked to do the spin, and God help me I did it,” an emotional Kelly said in the video.
She added, “I know people think it's like ‘Oh, so you had to spin around.’ But I remember feeling like... I put myself through school, I was offered partnership at Jones Day... I argued before federal courts of appeal all over the nation, I came here covering the United States Supreme Court, I graduated with honors from all of my programs. Now he wants me to twirl. And I did it. If you don’t get how demeaning that is, I can’t help you.”
The three other women all said they experienced a version of the same Ailes request. Bakhtiar recounted that Ailes asked her to get up and spin for him but she refused. Zann said she was asked to twirl and did it. Huddy revealed that Ailes never asked her to spin, but added, “He would say, ‘Let me turn you around and see your ass. You’re too skinny, gain some weight.’”
Zann also accused Ailes of asking her “what [she] wouldn’t do for Fox,” and added, “He wanted me to ask him to give him oral sex.” Huddy said she once had O’Reilly on speakerphone while she was with her mother, who heard the sound of the disgraced anchor masturbating. Bakhtiar said, “We somehow knew this was the way it worked. Everyone would tell you, ‘Don’t complain about sexual harassment because you’ll lose your job.’”
Following a storm over a sexual-harassment lawsuit filed by former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson, Ailes was allowed to resign from his role in 2016 with a severance package worth a reported $40 million. He died a year later at the age of 77 after suffering a fall in his Palm Beach mansion.
The women expressed their anger that their alleged harassers never faced meaningful punishment. As O’Reilly accuser Huddy puts it, “He walked away with zillions of dollars, and I lost my job.”