Twitter- and Instagram-based media critic Megyn Kelly—who feuded with actress Jane Fonda, Fox News flack Irena Briganti, and ultimately her own boss, Andy Lack, during her brief but remunerative sojourn at NBC News—indulged her taste for faux combat again on Friday by taking Sean Hannity’s side in a squabble with Jimmy Kimmel.
“America’s late night darling @Jimmy Kimmel? Who every Hollywood star cozies up to? The very same stars who then lecture the rest of us on woke culture?” Kelly tweeted sarcastically (at 5:51 a.m!) over a Mediaite story about Hannity’s Thursday night threat to “unload like you’ve never seen” on the ABC late-night comedian and reignite their nasty bicker-fest over the Fox primetime star’s ardent sycophancy for all things Trump.
“Whatever could he have done??” Kelly continued, then linking to a two-decade-old video of then-Comedy Central star Kimmel in blackface, sending up basketball great Karl Malone.
It’s probably advisable to have a playbook handy to unpack the exhausting facts and feelings necessary to comprehend the implications of Kelly’s pre-dawn social-media brickbat.
She launched it as a movie about the downfall of Fox News chairman Roger Ailes—Bombshell, starring Charlize Theron as Kelly—is about to premiere, and only a month after the real-life Kelly went after CBS News with an interview of a fired producer posted on her Instagram page.
First of all, it’s painfully obvious that the former Fox News star has yet to make peace with her brutal firing from NBC—midway through a reported $69 million contract—over her seeming endorsement of Halloween blackface on her eponymous 9 a.m. show Megyn Kelly Today.
She must find it infuriating—understandably—that her once-brilliant television career imploded and has yet to recover after the October 2018 incident—with former colleagues Al Roker and Craig Melvin scorching her “ignorant racism”—while Kimmel’s career only got better and better in the 20 years since he didn’t simply endorse blackface, but actually put on blackface, and spoke in what was apparently meant to be a white guy’s hilarious rendition of Ebonics.
It’s also worth noting the irony of Kelly signing on to Team Hannity: In 2013, when she dislodged Sean from his coveted 9 p.m. time slot, Megyn reportedly had little use, and less love, for her then-Fox News rival. Since her departure from NBC, however, Hannity has returned to 9 p.m., and the two have apparently let go of whatever mutual resentments they nursed; they were spotted schmoozing last year at Mediaite’s holiday party.
Kelly’s relationship with Kimmel, however, has gone in the other direction. When she was still at Fox, she happily appeared more than once on his ABC show Jimmy Kimmel Live!
But then, after she moved to NBC, she went out of her way to criticize Kimmel’s hosting of the Oscars and to blame him for the annual Hollywood gala’s eroding viewership. “I know a lot of people love Jimmy, but he’s openly said he has disdain for Republicans—that they’re stupid—and he doesn’t want them watching his shows if they disagree with any of his opinions,” she opined on her show. “That does not tend to help your ratings.”
In an August 2018 interview with The Daily Beast, Kimmel fired back prophetically: “Isn’t it funny to hear someone like Megyn Kelly, who based on her ratings probably won’t make it to the end of the year on NBC, talking about anyone else’s ratings?”
Neither Kelly nor Kimmel’s PR rep responded to interview requests.