In her 12 years at Fox News, Megyn Kelly distinguished herself as one of its brightest stars—often by bucking the network’s established narrative of perpetual right-wing outrage. She voiced support for family-leave policies, chastised politicians for minimizing sexual assault and famously feuded with Donald J. Trump as he fought his way to the White House.
On Tuesday, six months after claiming that Fox News CEO Roger Ailes had sexually assaulted her, Kelly announced on Facebook that she would be joining NBC News to launch a new daytime show and Sunday evening news magazine program. In some ways, the news is the predictable next step in Kelly’s evolution from Fox News blonde to mainstream news personality. Indeed, in her memoir, "Settle For More," Kelly wrote that she was seeking a role that would release her from the "constant political combat of cable news." But more than a decade in Ailes’ newsroom doesn’t wash away so easily. The truth is, Kelly will arrive at NBC with some on-air baggage that daytime network viewers might not be so quick to forget. Here are six moments that Kelly could find herself having to answer for as she transitions into her new role.
Kelly tells civil rights leader "it’s hard to take you seriously"
July 18, 2016—At the Republican National Convention, Kelly had a heated interview with Malik Shabazz, president of organization Black Lawyers for Justice and former New Black Panthers leader, over allegedly offering sympathetic words for a police shooter. Shabazz said he never called the shooter a hero. They continue to argue about whether Michael Brown or the police officer was the aggressor in Ferguson. "Your attitude is part of the problem," said Shabazz to which Kelly responds with "There’s no reasoning with you."
Kelly lets Trump say all Mexican immigrants are killers
June 25, 2015—Sometimes, it’s what you don’t say that gets you in trouble Here, in an interview with Trump, the then-presidential candidate doubles down on his infamous statement that Mexican immigrants are rapists, saying they are also murderers. "We have some terrible people coming in," Trump said. "They are killers and they are people we don’t want in this country in many cases." Rather than push back, Kelly simply moves on to the next question.
Kelly says Jeb Bush can’t be hostile toward immigrants because he’s married to a Mexican
July 7, 2015—On "The Kelly File," Kelly argues that GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush should not be criticized by Hillary Clinton for being "hostile" toward immigrants, because he has a Mexican wife and children.
"Ok, now the problem for her on that…is Jeb Bush, who is considered to be the favorite by many polls, is married to a woman who is from Mexico. He has children who are half-Mexican. Hostile toward immigrants? How’s that going to fly?"
May 20, 2015—Post-Ferguson, First Lady Michelle Obama gave a commencement speech at Tuskegee University, a historically black college, about the struggles of being discriminated against. Kelly argued that her speech played into a "culture of victimization." "I call it cupcake nation," she said, "That’s what we’re turning into—cupcake nation."
Kelly calls 14-year-old victim of police brutality "no saint."
July 28, 2015—Protests erupted in McKinney, TX, after a police officer was taped drawing his weapon and tackling a 14-year-old black girl to the ground—a disturbing visual that resonated around the country. "Listen, the girl was no saint either," said Kelly. "He had told her to leave, and she continued to linger." She then cut off the commentator after he said, "If you look very closely at the video, there are also white guys just standing there."
Kelly explains to kids that Santa is white
December 11, 2013—Megyn Kelly insists that both Santa Claus and Jesus are white in reaction to an article that states it’s racist to have a white Santa.
"I kind of laughed and said this is so ridiculous," said Kelly, "yet another person claiming it’s racist to have a white Santa. For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white….Just because it makes you uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change. Jesus was a white man too."
It’s a classic Fox News moment that many of Kelly’s critics were quick to recall on Tuesday. It will be interesting to see just how far into her new assignment she can get before someone decides to make her answer for it again.
If all the black employees in the NBC newsroom could dress up as Santa on Megyn Kelly's first day that would be great, thanks.— shauna (@goldengateblond) January 3, 2017
MEGYN KELLY NBC NEWS EXCLUSIVE: The New Black Panther Party Is Holding Santa Claus (Who Is and Has Always Been White) Hostage— Sam Biddle (@samfbiddle) January 3, 2017
Congrats to Megyn Kelly on gaining a larger national platform for her signature issue, Santa Claus being white— Patrick Monahan (@pattymo) January 3, 2017