Megyn Kelly: Accusing Roger Ailes of sexual harassment would have been career ‘suicide’

Megyn Kelly: Accusing Roger Ailes of sexual harassment would have been career ‘suicide’
Fox News Channel anchor Megyn Kelly (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly said Tuesday that she did not come forward sooner with allegations that former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes sexually harassed her because it would have been a “suicide mission” for her career.

During an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” about her new book, “Settle for More,” Kelly said that in the beginning of her career at Fox News Ailes tried to kiss her three times in his office and that when she rejected his advances “he asked me when my contract was up.”

“As soon as I left his office I called a lawyer, and I did bring the matter to a supervisor at Fox News,” Kelly added.

Kelly said her supervisor “vouched for Roger’s character, assured me that he was a good man, that he was likely just smitten and that I should try to avoid him, which I did.”

She said Ailes stopped harassing her after she avoided him for six months.

Despite her own experience with Ailes, Kelly said that she wasn’t initially sure what to believe when her former colleague Gretchen Carlson alleged that Ailes destroyed her career after she rejected his advances.

“He and I had gone on to have nine years of a healthy, working relationship, and so in my mind I had attributed to he was interested in me, he was having a marital difficulty, perhaps he was just interested in having an extramarital affair,” Kelly said. “I wrestled with what to do because I wasn’t sure what the truth was about Roger.”

Kelly said she decided to call 21st Century Fox Executive Chairman Lachlan Murdoch after Carlson’s allegations came to light to tell him about her her own experience with Ailes. Within days, Murdoch hired a law firm to investigate him.

“What I wanted was for it to be an open and honest investigation into him, that’s all I really wanted, because I didn’t know whether it was just me or just Gretchen,” Kelly said. “That’s why I called Lachlan Murdoch to tell him — it didn’t bring me any joy — but just to tell him that this did happen to me 10 years earlier and that they needed to take a hard look at who they had running the company.”

“I cooperated with that investigation, and I think it wound up as it should have,” she added.

Kelly called Ailes’ actions “disturbing” but said she didn’t immediately come forward because “realistically, that would have been a suicide mission for me and my career.”

“I wasn’t Megyn Kelly of today. I had no power, and he was on the cover of industry magazines as the most powerful man in news,” she said. “There was no one to go to.”

Ailes denied Kelly’s allegations in a statement given to ABC News through his attorney.

Kelly also addressed President-elect Donald Trump’s frequent attacks on her during his presidential campaign after she asked him a question he didn’t like at a debate.

“It definitely posed challenges when he was coming at me so relentlessly and causing security issues in my life and the life of my family, but I did it,” Kelly said. “It was a test of me as a person and a professional.”

Kelly said that her meeting with the Manhattan billionaire in Trump Tower was a turning point in their professional relationship.

“He came after me like a dog with a bone for nine months, but finally, when I went to see him at Trump Tower — and believe me, I was not conciliatory towards him — we got past it,” she said.

Kelly declined to say whether she will stay at Fox News when her contract expires.

“I’m very grateful that Fox News has given me the 12 years I’ve had there and that they want me to stay,” she said. “In my opinion, the Murdochs, who are running Fox News Channel now, are honorable men who want to do what’s right and who have a great vision for Fox News.”

Kelly said she will do what is best for her family. “As much as I love my job I love those three little lives that my husband and I have brought into the world,” she said. “This is my philosophy, that I need to settle for more, so I’m going to do that.”

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