Bill O’Reilly’s Defense Of Roger Ailes Reportedly Helped Cement Megyn Kelly’s Exit From Fox News

As Bill O’Reilly takes a very-much-definitely-planned-before-crap-hit-the-fan vacation in Italy, more details of the alleged fallout from his continued pattern of less than gentlemanly behavior keep coming to light. The New York Times reports that O’Reilly’s defense of the ousted Roger Ailes — and his equally fiery defense of his employer, Fox News — played a part in Megyn Kelly’s departure from the cable news network.

The news comes as Kelly herself is nearing a comeback with NBC, possibly with her first interview being the granddaddy of them all: Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Kelly’s early-January departure from Fox News was a setback for the network that saw her as a major part of its future. Fox offered Kelly $20 million a year to stay, but she reportedly declined, in part, because of Bill O’Reilly and his public behavior during the Ailes scandal. According to an alleged email sent by Kelly to Fox News co-presidents Jack Abernethy and Bill Shine, the most notable incident came during O’Reilly’s sit down with CBS This Morning. There O’Reilly blew a fuse when asked about Kelly’s allegations that the former Fox News head sexually harassed her. “Look, it’s open season,” O’Reilly then said, “let’s whack the Fox News Channel. I’ve had enough of it. It’s a good place to work. All right?” Soon after, O’Reilly delivered another blow to Kelly on his own show, saying ‘loyalty mattered’:

“If somebody is paying you a wage, you owe that person or company allegiance. You don’t like what’s happening in the workplace, go to human resources or leave. I’ve done that. And then take the action you need to take afterward if you feel aggrieved. There are labor laws in this country. But don’t run down the concern that supports you by trying to undermine it … Factor Tip of The Day: Loyalty is good.”

Although Kelly steered away from publicly responding to O’Reilly’s remarks at the time, The New York Times reports that Kelly criticized the host in emails to higher-ups at Fox News, voicing her displeasure with O’Reilly’s behavior with Kelly arguing that the CBS comments could be harmful to other women that may have had similar experiences or those who are harassed in the future:

In the email, Ms. Kelly said that Mr. O’Reilly’s comments on “CBS This Morning” were in bad form, according to the people with knowledge of the email who described its contents to The Times.

Ms. Kelly said that a man with Mr. O’Reilly’s history had no business publicly lecturing women inside or outside the company about sexual harassment, the people said. (In a highly publicized 2004 dispute, Mr. O’Reilly had settled sexual harassment allegations made by a young producer for about $9 million.)

Ms. Kelly added in the email that the push for blind loyalty was the reason the network had gotten into the mess with Mr. Ailes. Several people at the network became aware of the email.

Even as Kelly objected to O’Reilly’s comments and complained about them to Fox News executives, next-to-nothing was done — including his follow-up comments on The O’Reilly Factor. That, in large part, led to her decision to leave a $100 million dollar offer from the highest-rated cable news network on the table for a three-headed role at NBC.

(Via The New York Times)