Megyn Kelly’s progressive comments don’t excuse her oppressive tendencies



Megyn Kelly is yet another white, blonde, Republican woman who I had to Google to differentiate from the numerous other white, blonde, Republican women. You know the type: do the bare minimum and are suddenly heralded as progressive heroes because we all quietly want to think white women are there for us. That being said, let me give you the cliff notes on the situation.

Kelly worked as a news reporter on Fox News from 2004 to 2017 (red flag), and then left to join NBC news to hold her own talk show program, “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly.” This transition to NBC seems to come with a desire to be seen as less political, less conservative, etc., etc., and there have been some obvious examples of that. To elaborate, Kelly used her platform as an opportunity to criticize Trump for his hateful and violent rhetoric while also criticising Twitter as being largely complacent in this, especially considering their willingness to suspend Rose McGowen over similar charges.

Naturally, this garnered backlash for Kelly who, despite her conservative background, has had a tumultuous relationship with Trump and his people and many liberals have supported her for coming forward and saying this. So this begs the question, is Kelly worthy of this support?

In order to answer this, one has to consider the obvious tension between her past persona and that which she is now trying to push upon the public. Kelly’s work for one of the more conservative (and honestly, ridiculous) news providers out there has given her ample opportunity to perpetuate and exacerbate issues. She has used her platform to defend Carly Fiorina’s claim that Planned Parenthood steals infant brains, claim police pepper spray is essentially a food product, insist that Jesus and Santa are white and allow some of the nation’s most prominent anti-LGBT speakers to appear on national TV. These things are undeniably cringe-worthy, sure, but people can change, right?

Perhaps, but Kelly has yet to illustrate a change in any significant way. Even on her new show she has made some weird, vaguely homophobic comment to a “Will and Grace” fan asking him if the show is why he became gay, and pressured Jane Fonda about her plastic surgery, which is just rude, really. Beyond the fact that the show is bad (supposedly the ratings are absolutely tanking), it illustrates, even in a small way, that Kelly hasn’t truly changed.

While I can respect the desire to escape a messy and problematic past and step into the brilliant light of being “non-problematic,” one has to actually learn and change in the process. Kelly’s comments on Twitter’s hypocrisy are fair, her criticism of Trump is reasonable, but that doesn’t mean that it suddenly makes up for all the years she has left marginalized groups stranded on the wayside. We can celebrate these comments without somehow framing her as feminist goddess of the year.

Maybe she will improve, maybe her step away from politics will be more than an example of her privilege and ability to avoid issues when it’s convenient for her. But we have to remember that a few good comments can’t erase a history of negligence.