Bombshell tracks the fall of former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes after he’s accused of sexual harassment by his staff — but as a former Fox News employee tells it, the reality of the situation was much worse.
In a round table interview set up by Megyn Kelly, former associate producer of Fox News Live Julie Zann says the culture fostered by Ailes was “much worse” than the one depicted in the Golden Globe-nominated film.
Kelly and Zann were joined by her fellow former Fox colleagues — Juliet Huddy (former host of Fox News’ The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet) and Rudi Bakhtiar (former Fox News reporter) — to share their reactions on how the recently released movie Bombshell portrayed their real-life experiences with sexual harassment at the network.
The movie “Bombshell” is a Hollywood film about the sexual harassment scandal at Fox News. I have no connection to the film, and hold no stake at all in it. I do, however, have a connection to many of the women who actually lived it. Here is their account. https://t.co/LCkdYvF6qr— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) January 9, 2020
The wide-ranging discussion was to allow the women to tell their own stories in their own words.
“That’s my immediate takeaway. It was like, ‘Oh, this is it. You really let Roger off easily,’ ” Zann said of the film.
Zann did, however, praise Jay Roach’s film for its accurate portrayal of how it actually felt to be harassed by Ailes.
“Something I’ve dealt with in the wake of the Roger Ailes downfall is people would say, ‘Did he ever hit on you?’ And I hated how people would ask that question, and I’m sure that we’ve all gotten that,” Zann said. “It’s like, you have no idea what it actually felt like. At least these visual representations go there in showing you that it was much more than, ‘I’d like to take you out to dinner.’”
The four women were also joined by Kelly’s husband Doug Brunt, who is featured prominently in the film and played by The Morning Show‘s Mark Duplass. Shortly before her interview, Kelly detailed how it felt to watch such a difficult moment in her life play out on screen.
“My husband @dougbrunt and I recently took our three kids to see the movie ‘Frozen 2.’ As we walked into the theatre, our 6-year-old stopped at this poster promoting another movie hitting the big screen,” Kelly wrote in a post on Instagram. “The ad confused him because it appears to show a picture of me.”
She continued, “But while the movie ‘Bombshell’ is loosely based on my experience during the sexual harassment scandal at Fox News, I have nothing to do with this film. I did not sell the rights to my story or book and only got my first look at the film once it was past the point of any possible edits, though there are certainly some I would have made.”
Despite not being involved in the film’s production, Kelly did say, “Watching this picture was an incredibly emotional experience for me, and for those with whom I saw it.”
“Sexual harassment is pervasive in this country; it can leave scars that do not heal,” Kelly added. “My heart goes out to those who’ve gone through it, who I hope might find some comfort in this story. As for my thoughts about the film, I’ll have more soon.”
Theron received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination and a Golden Globe nomination for her portrayal of Kelly. Her costars Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie also received SAG Awards for their performances, with Robbie also nabbing a Golden Globe nomination.
Bombshell is in theaters now.