NBC host Megyn Kelly got a round of applause at an inopportune time Tuesday when her audience clapped for a story she told of sending a gift to Charlie Rose even though she was angry with him.
Kelly addressed the sexual harassment allegations against Rose, the longtime television journalist, at the outset of "Megyn Kelly Today." Rose has been suspended by CBS, PBS and Bloomberg after the Washington Post reported on eight women who accused him of rampant sexual misconduct between the early 1990s and 2011.
Kelly then told her audience about a personal exchange she had with Rose, who she called a friend, that she called indicative of the "underlying dynamic" between men and women in the workplace.
Kelly said she asked Rose to emcee her first book event for Settle For More last year and found it upsetting because of Rose's questioning about her sexual harassment allegations against late Fox News chief Roger Ailes.
"It was supposed to be a celebratory event, discussing the full scope of the book, which is about my life and my career and the lessons learned. Instead, the exchange felt to me like a cross-examination focused on one issue, the sexual harassment allegations against Roger Ailes," Kelly said, with a hint of anger. "Allegations Ailes denied, but which I know are true because I lived it. I felt defensive in the exchange with Charlie and wound up angry about how he handled my book event."
The kicker? Kelly said, "You know what I did? I sent him a bottle of wine and a thank-you note."
It was supposed to be the somewhat shameful end of a story of acting subservient to a male colleague, but the audience applauded, and Kelly seemed miffed.
"No, no," she said. "But I'm making a different point … The reason I sent him the wine and the thank-you note is that I believed it was better to be nice."
Kelly finished by saying women needed to worry less about being "nice" and do more to stand up for themselves when they feel wronged.
"The time has come," she said. "We are in the middle of an empowerment revolution in this country."
Kelly's talk show has had a checkered start, with struggling ratings, awkward moments with guests, a widely panned dance routine with fellow NBC personality Hoda Kotb, and stories of publicists encouraging their clients to stay away.