Megyn Kelly and fellow Fox News accusers discuss what 'Bombshell' got right and wrong

Megyn Kelly has seen Bombshell -- and she has some thoughts.

The former Fox News host is one of the subjects of Jay Roach's new film, which tracks the stories of Kelly, Gretchen Carlson and multiple other women at the conservative-leaning news network who accused CEO Roger Ailes of sexual harassment. who accused CEO Roger Ailes of sexual harassment. As the film makes its final push towards the Oscars, with buzz for Charlize Theron (who plays Kelly), Nicole Kidman (who plays Carlson) and Margot Robbie (who plays a fictional character, Kayla Pospisil, who represents a composite of several of Ailes' accusers), Kelly sat down to watch the film for herself, along with a few other former Fox News alum.

The emotional account was documented for Kelly's YouTube channel, in a video posted on Thursday titled "Megyn Kelly Presents: A Response to "Bombshell" - Full Discussion." The former host of The Kelly File was joined by Juliet Huddy (former host of Fox’s The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet), Rudi Bakhtiar (former Fox News reporter) and Julie Zann (former associate producer of Fox News Live), as well as her husband Douglas Brunt, to share their reactions to Bombshell as well as their own accounts of the atmosphere at Fox News under Ailes.  

"It's very surreal to see a story that involves you be told without you being able to tell it," said Huddy, who settled a lawsuit against Fox News in Jan. 2017 which alleged sexual harassment from longtime Fox anchor Bill O'Reilly and co-president Jack Abernethy. "They got a lot right, but they got a lot-- not wrong, but it was a little weird."

Kelly in particular also praised the casting of The Morning Show star Mark Duplass as Brunt, noting that he captured her husband's humor, kindness and support, though she said she couldn't speak to Theron's performance. "I'm just too close to it. It's too weird to see someone who looks just like you, on the screen, pretending to be you."

All four of the women teared up during their screening of Bombshell, describing the fraught "elevator scene" hinted at in the trailer as one of the most emotional moments to watch. "You immediately go to what happened to you, and what her fate was in that room," Zann said, recalling the ensuing interaction that Robbie's character has with John Lithgow's Ailes in his office as being "very, very close to what actually happened" to her.

Speaking for the first time on camera about her alleged harassment, Zann praised the film for some of its most uncomfortable moments, noting that it might help viewers understand what she says her interactions with Ailes were like.

"People would say, 'Did he ever hit on you?' And I hated how people would ask that questions," she said, fighting back tears. "It's like, you have no idea what it actually felt like. At least these visual representations go there in showing in you it was much more than, 'I'd like to take you out to dinner.'"Charlize Theron on the 'Complex Load of Emotions' She Felt Making 'Bombshell' (Exclusive)

Kelly read journal entries that detail her alleged interactions with Ailes -- which matched up with Zann's accounts in uncanny detail, and they all recalled being asked to perform "the infamous spin" for the powerful predator. Bakhtiar's claims were made against former Fox anchor Brian Wilson -- and she said that their scene in the movie plays out very similarly to how it happened in real life.

Megyn Kelly's rise to the top
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Megyn Kelly's rise to the top

Megyn Kelly was born in Illinois in 1970. She was a cheerleader throughout high school and told Katie Couric last year that at the time, she didn't have much ambition. Her father was a college professor and her mother was a nurse. Kelly's father died of a heart attack when she was 15.

Source: The Washington Post

Kelly became more focused on her academics when she started college. She graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in political science in 1992 and went on to earn a JD from Albany Law School in 1995.

Source: Elle Magazine


Soon after, Kelly joined prominent law firm Bickel & Brewer as an associate. Later, she spent nine years working for Jones Day. She credits her background in practicing law with helping her stand her ground when interviewing politicians and CEOs.

Source: Fox News

(Photo by Ben Hider/Getty Images)

Kelly entered the media sphere in 2003, when she started working as a general assignment reporter for an ABC affiliate in Washington, D.C. She covered multiple stories of national interest, including the 2004 presidential race.

Source: The Washington Post and Fox News

(LUKE FRAZZA/AFP/Getty Images)

Kelly joined Fox News one year later, in 2004. Former CNN President Jonathan Klein told The New York Times in 2015 that he regretted not hiring Kelly when she was starting out because she was "the one talent you'd want to have from somewhere else."

Source: The New York Times

Brendan McDermid/Reuters

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Kelly quickly established herself as a leading voice in political journalism while at Fox. She provided wall-to-wall coverage of critical events like the 2013 government shutdown, the Boston Marathon bombing, and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Source: Fox News

She also gained recognition for her take-no-prisoners approach to interviewing politicians and high-level officials from both sides of the aisle.

(Fox News)

In one attention-grabbing interview, she asked Republican strategist Karl Rove an awkward question when during the 2012 election, when he was forecasting the numbers Republican candidate Mitt Romney needed to win the election: "Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better, or is this real?"

Source: Business Insider

Her tenure at the network was not without controversy, though. Kelly attracted sharp criticism in 2013 following a segment during which she told the "kids watching at home" that "Santa just is white" and that "Jesus was a white man, too."

Watch the clip on YouTube »

Kelly was roundly criticized for the segment's historical inaccuracy — Santa Claus can be traced back to a real-life monk named St. Nicholas who was from Turkey — and for its racial undertones.

Source: The History Channel

(Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

The segment was lampooned by late-night political satire shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.

"Who are you actually talking to?" Daily Show host Jon Stewart asked after playing Kelly's segment, during which she addressed "all you kids watching at home."

"Children who are sophisticated enough to be watching a news channel at 10 o'clock at night, yet innocent enough to still believe Santa Claus is real, yet racist enough to be freaked out if he isn't white?" Stewart asked, drawing cheers from the audience. 

(Comedy Central)

Critics have also accused Kelly, who came out as an Independent in 2015, of adopting a double standard in her reporting.

Source: Business Insider, Variety

(The Washington Post via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 10: Megyn Kelly, host of America Live on set at Fox News studios in New York. Fox News Channel celebrated its 15th anniversary on the air on October 7th.

Things took a turn during a Republican primary debate in 2015 when Kelly became part of the news cycle itself. After she questioned then-Republican candidate Donald Trump about his behavior towards women, Trump implied Kelly had been vindictive and said she had "blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her...wherever."

(Photo by Eric Liebowitz/FOX via Getty Images)

The remark, which many perceived as sexist, drew immediate and sustained criticism from observers, while Kelly garnered support from both sides of the political spectrum.

(Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images) 

It wasn't all rosy for the Fox News anchor, though. Kelly told late night host Jimmy Fallon a few months later that she could "no longer go on Twitter" because of the harassment she experienced from Trump and his fans.

Source: The Tonight Show

(Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

The incident, and Kelly's pushback against it, made her something of a cultural icon during the election. She was even a featured guest during the 2016 "Women In The World" summit hosted by Katie Couric.

Watch Kelly's interview at the summit »

(Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)

"It is bizarre, it's surreal," Kelly said of her experience with Trump and covering the campaign. She added that she didn't enjoy seeing her own name in the headlines and that she looked forward to moving on from it.

(Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

Kelly again came under the spotlight later that year, when she defended former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson, who had accused Fox News CEO Roger Ailes of sexual misconduct.

(Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for TIME)

While other network powerhouses like Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly leaped to Ailes' defense, Kelly backed Carlson and even encouraged another female Fox News anchor to speak out about the alleged harassment she'd faced from Ailes.

Source: New York Magazine


Kelly later wrote about her own experience with Ailes. At one point, he was "trying to grab me repeatedly and kiss me on the lips," she wrote in her book, "Settle For More."

Source: The Daily Beast

(Photo by Charles Ommanney/Getty Images)

After Carlson made her allegations against Ailes public, the network approached Kelly several times to defend the CEO, she wrote, but "there was no way I was going to lie to protect him."

Source: "Settle For More" via The Daily Beast

(Photo by Charles Ommanney/Getty Images)

Throughout the next few months, the network saw a string of high-profile departures that began with Ailes stepping down, host Greta van Susteren leaving to take a job at MSNBC, and finally, Kelly announcing her own departure to NBC.

(Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Her new, multi-year contract with the network gives Kelly several prominent roles, The New York Times reported earlier this year: she will host a daytime news and talk show, a Sunday night news program, and she will take point on covering prominent breaking stories and political events for the network.

Source: The New York Times

(Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)

Kelly had already stepped into her new position prior to debuting her daytime talk show on Monday. Earlier this year, she interviewed Russian President Vladimir Putin in a segment that earned mixed reviews. Many critics felt she didn't press Putin hard enough on his record on human rights and Russia's election interference.

(Photo by Alexei Druzhinin\TASS via Getty Images)

She also interviewed Alex Jones, an alt-right icon, strong supporter of Donald Trump, and the founder of far-right website InfoWars.

Source: NBC News

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

On Monday, she told her new studio audience that she was "kind of done with politics."

(Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

However, Kelly wore a shirt that had a "pussy bow," a feature that gained traction after the infamous Access Hollywood tape, during which Trump demeaned women and said he could "grab 'em by the p---y," leaked last year. So whether she really plans to stay away from the political fray remains to be seen.

(Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

However, the women also pointed out some fictional moments in Bombshell's account. Zann said she felt the film let Ailes "off easy," while Kelly refuted a scene which shows the CEO getting pushback from members of Fox's PR team when he orders a publicity hit on Kelly.  "The notion that Irena Briganti did not plant hit pieces on the talent is a fantasy... that was the no. 1 thing they got wrong. Irena, 100%, would hit talent." (A FOX News spokesperson vehemently denied this accusation in a statement to ET.)

And the one scene that all four women called "bulls**t" on was when Robbie's character accosts Theron's Kelly about keeping quiet with her accusations against Ailes, blaming her for future harassment the CEO was able to carry out. Zann, Huddy and Bakhtiar all affirmed that Kelly was a "real support system" as they navigated their own legal battles with the network, though Kelly admitted the scene stirred up recurring feelings of guilt on her end.

"The truth is that I've looked back on my own life, every moment from that moment forward, and I do wish I had done more. Even though I was powerless, even though it would have been a suicidal move for me, career-wise... What if I had thrown myself in the fire back then?" 

She also saw herself in the uplifting scenes, however, noting that a moment when Theron's character looks at her daughter, Yardley, and hopes for a different experience for future generations, was a poignant touchstone for her in real life. "I do feel like, thanks to all the women who have come forward -- and men, too -- we're at least closer to preventing that from happening for her. That's it right there, right? What more can you ask."

See more about Bombshell -- which is in theaters now -- in the video below.

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