Late last year, Megyn Kelly’s show finally seemed to find its groove with audiences once the #MeToo movement gathered steam. Following the case of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged decadeslong pattern of sexual abuse—and the numerous allegations against other powerful men in other C-suites in other industries—Kelly’s show focused in on covering harassment, and its ratings (finally) surged upward.
Now a recently fired staffer alleges that two of the show’s top execs created their own culture of harassment: bullying lower-level members of staff and creating a “toxic and demeaning” environment on the set.
According to the New York Post’s Page Six, Kevin Bleyer, a writer on Megyn Kelly Today, was fired this week after complaining about Executive Producer Jackie Levin and Co-Executive Producer Christine Cataldi, against whom he’s alleging “abusive treatment,” bullying and incompetence.
According to CNN’s Reliable Sources Newsletter, Bleyer disclosed his allegations against Levin and Cataldi in an email sent to human resources. It essentially contains a 4,400-word dossier outlining the executive team’s alleged abuses, including specific dates and interactions. The email had been circulating around NBC for days before the Daily Mail published the dossier in full.
Kelly herself was not implicated in the alleged bullying that happened on her show.
Some sections from the dossier include:
On Wednesday 11/22, Christine was dismissive to producer Kate Uebergang when Kate was rightly speaking up for herself, and for a guest. The upshot: Kate was explaining the guest’s concern about a cooking segment—explaining that an ‘egg cream pie’ is popular among African-Americans in the South—and Christine shut her down saying ‘I don’t care. Tell her to do something else.’
On Wednesday 1/3, when I offered politely that Megyn wouldn’t have to wait for a rewrite if Jackie could review the affiliate promos prior to the show (as per the workflow), Jackie called me a ‘f***ing whiner.’ It was not said as a joke. It was unwarranted, and unjustified, and abusive. And unacceptable.
What’s more, it should also be known that Christine routinely speaks of her assistant Katrina as ‘an idiot.’ Katrina is not an idiot.
Jackie has insisted that our director, producers and editors to use NBC resources to edit a music video for her son’s college a capella group. They didn’t feel they could tell her no.
After detailing the alleged abuse, Bleyer was fired from his position on the Megyn Kelly show, a move NBC claims was because, as a comedy writer, he was the “wrong fit” for writing for a morning news show.
NBC is also standing by the two execs, saying that they are being “attacked unfairly.”
“They are both excellent and experienced producers, and have the full support of everyone here,” an NBC News representative said.
Bleyer, who won multiple awards for his work writing on The Daily Show and was a speechwriter for Barack Obama, pointed out that it is a “special absurdity—and what some find a hard-to-swallow injustice—that as a team we’ve been lauded for covering harassment stories daily on-air, while the staff producing those stories feels so embattled and bullied themselves.”
Bleyer alleges that multiple veteran staffers are looking to either be reassigned at NBC or leave altogether.
“I should add that many of those who have confided in me have made it plain: Sensitivity training will not suffice,” Bleyer said in his email. “Their feeling is, you can’t change these tigers’ stripes.”