ENTERTAINMENT

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Editor Condemns Megyn Kelly For 'Bullying' Naomi Osaka

"Well, first of all, we did that shoot back in December of 2020,” MJ Day said in response to the former Fox News host's attacks. "Let her live," she added.

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit editor MJ Day fired back at Megyn Kelly after the former Fox News host complained on Twitter on Monday that Naomi Osaka was being featured on the magazine’s 2021 cover. 

Day called out Kelly for bullying the 23-year-old tennis superstar and pointed out that the former cable news host spewed out vitriol directed at Osaka on a public platform without knowing the facts surrounding her Sports Illustrated shoot.

“It’s such bullying and it’s so unnecessary, and this woman did nothing wrong,” Day said during an appearance on People’s “People Every Day” podcast with host Janine Rubenstein on Tuesday.

After images of Osaka’s cover were published on Monday, Kelly trolled the four-time Grand Slam champion for appearing on magazine covers after she decided to withdraw from the French Open and Wimbledon tournaments in the spring, citing the need to protect her mental health. 

Kelly responded to a tweet by right-wing sports commentator Clay Travis, who also trolled Osaka by attempting to connect her decision to exercise self-care with the timing of the release of some of her ongoing projects, including her appearance on the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, which is due out in August.  

“Let’s not forget the cover of (& interview in) Vogue Japan and Time Mag!” Kelly responded.

Day pointed out that Osaka shot her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover in December 2020 — months before her May announcement that she would not do any press appearances at this year’s French Open.

“Well, first of all, we did that shoot back in December of 2020,” Day said on “People Every Day.”

The editor said that she was so “triggered” by Kelly’s attacks that she shared screen grabs of Osaka’s shoot with a December 2020 timestamp on her Instagram Stories to prove the point that Kelly should have, at the bare minimum, done her due diligence.

“It broke my heart,” Day said, noting that Osaka is “living her life for the betterment of others, while also trying to pursue her own passion, which is tennis and fashion.”

“Let her live, let her make decisions for herself that protect her own well-being ... it’s at no cost to anyone. And also it’s just facts, we did this shoot back in December,” she added. 

Osaka also had a few words for the 50-year-old former Fox News anchor; she encouraged Kelly to “do better,” according to screenshots of a since-deleted tweet

“Seeing as you’re a journalist I would’ve assumed you would take the time to research what the lead times are for magazines, if you did that you would’ve found out I shot all of my covers last year,” the tennis star reportedly tweeted. “Instead your first reaction is to hop on here and spew negativity, do better Megan.”

Kelly, who joined NBC in 2017 and was fired the following year for defending the use of blackface in Halloween costumes during a segment of her show, doubled down on her attacks on Osaka in a later tweet.

She appeared bothered that Osaka blocked her on Twitter, chiding the athlete as only being “tough on the courts.”

Elsewhere during her appearance on “People Every Day,” Day gushed over her experience working with Osaka on set in December, sharing that they shot the cover on a secluded beach with a small crew in Malibu. 

Asked about Osaka’s reputation for having a shy personality, Day said that the tennis great is “so sweet, she’s so soft-spoken, she speaks when she has something to say.”