The former chairman and CEO of Fox News, Roger Ailes, was fired in 2016 on sexual harassment charges filed against him by 23 women, even though it is believed there were many more victims. Technically, Ailes resigned with $40 million from a Fox exit agreement but had no other choice than to leave the company after the accusations. Three years later, in December of 2019, "Bombshell" was released in an attempt to tell the story.
Directed by Jay Roach and scripted by Charles Randolph, the movie is about the women of Fox who paraded around their offices in stilettos, silent and puppeteered by the conservative news station that employed them and normalized sexual harassment. Megyn Kelly is played by Charlize Theron, Gretchen Carlson played by Nicole Kidman, and Margot Robbie portrays Kayla Pospisil, a fictional young victim of Ailes. The music and suspension of the trailer will make you want to buy your movie ticket right now.
Megyn Kelly and some of the (known) 23 victims watched the film for the first time together and had a lot to say.
For those curious, Roger Ailes did not respond, nor even view "Bombshell" as he passed away in May of 2017. However, the women of the case did and had a lot of emotions and comments on the film, both complimentary and critical. Megyn Kelly sat down with Juliet Huddy (former host of Fox News' "The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet"), Rudi Bakhtiar (former Fox News reporter), and Julie Zann (former associate producer of "Fox News Live") to discuss the film. All three women lost their jobs as a result of complaining about harassment at Fox. I highly encourage listening in on this discussion as it not only puts real faces to the story (not just actors) and reveals what the movie got right and wrong.
As much as I loved this movie, there were a lot of things they got wrong and it's important to point out those shortcomings.
For example, when Margot Robbie's character discovers that Megan Kelly was a victim of Ailes, she immediately begins victim-shaming Megan, questioning her on "what she thought her silence would mean for the rest of the victims." As Julie Zann puts it during the discussion, "if this is a movie about sexual harassment, then [that scene] is sending the wrong message." Megyn Kelly describes this scene as one that must have been "written by a man" as it is "not factual."
The women discuss how strong Megyn was and how had she not stuck out her abuse for years, this case would not have existed and the victims would not have been heard in the way that they were. I found this part of the discussion the most compelling and this part of the film the most frustrating. When there is sexual harassment women do not blame one another, they find comfort in one another's story.
If you're looking for a new movie to dissect I strongly recommend seeing "Bombshell." It will have you strutting out of the theatre with your blood pumping -- I promise.