Fox News host Megyn Kelly’s new book, Settle For More, has promised to be a revealing look into the inner workings of Fox News, her relationship with disgraced former CEO Roger Ailes and the network’s coziness with President-elect Donald Trump.
But a new piece in the New York Times Book Review blows all that anticipation out of the water.
In the book review, Times book critic Jennifer Senior recalls some of the most dramatic moments, including how Ailes allegedly sexually harassed Kelly. “He made sexual comments to me, offers of professional advancement in exchange for sexual favors,” Kelly writes.
Senior says Kelly’s book suggests “[p]arts of Fox — or at the very least, Roger Ailes ... seemed to be nakedly colluding with the Republican presidential nominee.”
According to Senior, the book also recounts a couple of bizarre incidents before the Fox News-hosted presidential debate, including a possible leak of information about Kelly’s planned questions for Trump.
Kelly planned to ask then-candidate Trump a question about his insulting comments about women. “The day before the first presidential debate,” according to Senior, “Mr. Trump was in a lather again, Ms. Kelly writes. He called Fox executives, saying he’d heard that her first question ‘was a very pointed question directed at him.’”
Kelly clarified Thursday night on Twitter that her book doesn’t suggest Trump had the actual debate questions in advance.
Her question about Trump’s treatment of women, while pointed at the time, was nearly a year before The Washington Post published a 2005 tape in which Trump was heard bragging about sexually assaulting women. It was also about a year before Kelly’s boss was removed from Fox News amid mounting sexual harassment claims. And she asked the question even before multiple women came forward accusing Trump of sexual assault and unwanted sexual advances.
Senior’s review also suggests Kelly was poisoned before the debate she was scheduled to moderate.
In her reading of the tale:
On the day of the debate, Ms. Kelly writes, she woke up feeling great. Then an overzealous, suspiciously enthusiastic driver picked her up to take her to the convention center. He insisted on getting her coffee, though she’d repeatedly declined his offer. Once it was in her hand, she drank it. And within 15 minutes, she was violently ill, vomiting so uncontrollably that it was unclear if she’d be able to go on and help moderate that evening. It was so bad that she kept a trash pail beneath her desk throughout the debate, just in case.
Ms. Kelly never says outright that someone tried to poison her. (A stomach bug was going around, she notes.) But the episode spooked her enough that she shared it later with Roger Ailes and a lawyer friend of his. Foul play? Again: She reports. You decide.
But Kelly herself contested this account Thursday:
According to the review, her book also describes how Trump tried to give her gifts, seemingly in exchange for favorable news coverage, and describes what prompted her to call Lachlan Murdoch, executive co-chairman of News Corp and 21st Century Fox, to inform him of Ailes’ behavior.
Head to the New York Times to read the full review, and brace yourself for Nov. 15 when Settle For More hits bookshelves near you.
This story has been updated to include Kelly’s responses.