Megyn Kelly Clarifies Fat-Shaming Comments After Backlash
By Desiree Murphy
Megyn Kelly is expanding on the controversial comments she made about fat-shaming.
During Thursday's episode of her program, Megyn KellyToday, the 47-year-old journalist suggested to her guest, fit mom blogger Maria Kang, that she should turn "the shaming thing" into a professional business.
"Some of us want to be shamed," Kelly said. "When I was in law school, I was gaining weight, I said to my stepfather, 'If you see me going into that kitchen one more time, you say, 'Where you going, fat a**?' And it works!"
But one day later, she clarified her remarks, revealing that obesity actually runs in her family.
"I said something yesterday on this show that clearly struck a nerve, and I think it's a conversation we need to have, openly," she said on Friday's show. "We were discussing body-shaming others, something I absolutely do not support. In fact, quite the opposite."
"My entire family is or has been overweight or obese," she shared. "My nana, my mom, my sister and my brother. I spoke to my sister yesterday, and she gave me permission to share that she was at one point over 300 pounds and ultimately chose to have gastric bypass surgery. One day, when I was about six years old, I came home in tears. Our neighbor had called my mom 'fat,' and I was angry and upset, and thought it was entirely untrue. ... It was the first time I ever saw my mom through that lens and it was my first lesson about the lens through which most of this country judges heavy people. A brutal and unforgiving one."
Kelly continued on, explaining that she, too, struggled with body issues.
"By the time I got to middle school, the hormones and the weight kicked in," she explained. "I was chubby by any standard and soon I found myself on the wrong side of some vicious bullies. Ones who called me fat and made fun of my backside, who subjected me to humiliating pranks. Those comments can cut deep, trust me, I know. Soon there were diet pills and obsessive exercise and I had reduced my calorie intake to 500 calories a day. My heart was racing all day, my hair and skin were dry but I was thin. And so unhappy. I was scared of gaining weight because of the insane standard this country holds its women to and because I was and remain afraid of dying in my 40s, which happened to my father."
"As a result, I have gotten healthier in my approach to eating, but I, like every woman I know, still wrestle with body image, and still cringe when I hear a person attacked for his or her weight," she added. "Please know, I would never encourage that toward any person. I've been thinking a lot about why I once encouraged it toward myself. What I know for sure is that weight is an issue for millions of people, thin and heavy alike. And neither deserves to be judged or shamed for how they choose to handle that struggle."
DID MEGYN KELLY ENDORSE FAT-SHAMING? The talk show host got backlash after she said “some of us want to be shamed." She's since responded saying, "I absolutely do not support" body shaming others. The co-hosts weigh in. pic.twitter.com/DF9rL08wsJ
Despite Kelly's lengthy explanation, the ladies of The Viewdidn't feel like she was being genuine, calling her out and sharing their own opinions on the issue during their Friday program.
"The problem is that, she is not a comedian," Joy Behar said. "I think she was trying to be funny. But a comedian, if you do it right, you have the blowback against the stepfather, instead of against her. Because you'd make a fool of him. That's a problem. People who are not comics should not do it. Don't go there."
It hit home for Meghan McCain, who says she was fat-shamed by Laura Ingraham when she was 24 years old.
"My career was launched on this show," McCain recalled. "I came on the show and told her she can kiss my fat blank. A few years later in my career, Glenn Beck went on his radio show and pretended to vomit in a bucket on air because I had done a PSA for skin cancer where, it was the appearance of being nude, but it was literally like my neck up, to tell people to protect from skin cancer. I had been fat-shamed publicly and humiliated my entire career. And when you say something like, 'Sometimes, fat shaming is good,' it really hurt me."
"I want to tell all the girls watching here... to be on TV and what I do here, I never had to lose a pound. I got a hot husband, I got a cool job," she continued. "I think we need to be responsible in our rhetoric on television. ... I just want to change the world we live in and how we look at women's bodies. It doesn't matter what size you are."
"We like to gain weight on The View!" Behar joked. "You know, Donald Trump said something about my weight in a book and he can kiss my fat a**."