Fired ‘Megyn Kelly Today’ Writer Alleges ‘Toxic, Demeaning’ Workplace

NBC: Employee was let go for being 'wrong fit'

Megyn Kelly / Getty Images
• January 19, 2018 11:45 am


A writer for Megyn Kelly's NBC morning show, who was fired earlier this week, has levied allegations that the show's two co-executive producers created a "toxic and demeaning" work environment.

Kevin Bleyer, an Emmy award-winning writer and commentator who previously worked for NPR, Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, and President Barack Obama, was fired from his post as head writer of "Megyn Kelly Today" Monday. On Tuesday, Bleyer emailed a series of documented complaints to colleagues after sharing the same information with NBC News President Noah Oppenheim and the organization's human resources department. The email was made public in a piece published by the Daily Mail.

Bleyer alleged the show's two co-executive producers, Jackie Levin and Christine Cataldi, were responsible for developing a workplace rife with "dysfunctional management, abusive treatment, maddening hypocrisy, staggering inefficiencies, acidic and deficient communication, and relentless scapegoating."

"Jackie Levin persists in creating a toxic and demeaning environment, and Christine Cataldi enables and reinforces it," Bleyer wrote in the email.

"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,'" Bleyer wrote in a compiled dossier of complaints sent to HR the day prior to his termination.

Bleyer also alleged Levin used the show's resources to promote her own son's musical ambitions.

"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," Bleyer wrote.

"I know Jackie and Christine previously intended (and perhaps still do intend) to replace staffers who offer any kind of pushback or speak up for themselves," he added.

The former head writer said he sent the compiled list of complaints to HR on Monday "just prior to being fired by Jackie Levin."

Bleyer's firing and allegations come at a particularly inopportune time for Kelly's show. Premiering in September of 2017, the show initially received poor reviews and ratings, with critics noting that the host's serious brand, honed by spending 13 years at Fox News, did not blend well with the sunnier morning show format. In recent weeks, Kelly has attempted to reset the course by tackling more serious topics. In a much-promoted interview, Kelly tackled the subject of sexual harassment by having three women on the show who have accused President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct in the past.

The firing also does not bode well for NBC, which has struggled to overcome speculation that it knew about Matt Lauer's inappropriate sexual conduct before allegations became public against the former "Today" show host. In the wake of Lauer's termination, NBC announced it would be conducting mandatory "in-person, interactive training on workplace behavior and harassment prevention."

Some at the network, however, voiced support for the executive producers and called Bleyer "incompetent."

"This is a recently fired temporary employee, who has never worked in a high-pressured news environment, and was not up to performing his job," one source told Daily Mail.

A network representative said the producers were "being attacked unfairly."

"Jackie and Christine are being attacked unfairly," an NBC representative said in response Bleyer's firing. "They are both excellent and experienced producers, and have the full support of everyone here."

On the termination of Bleyer's employement, the network's representative said: "He was let go for one reason only: he was the wrong fit for this role, as a comedy writer at a morning news broadcast."

Published under: Megyn Kelly, NBC