Megyn Kelly’s legal team and NBC are still wrangling over the details of her looming exit from the Peacock Network three weeks after “Megyn Kelly Today” was canceled.
“Language on a mutual non-disparagement agreement is tricky,” a source close to Kelly told Fox News, adding that things would “probably” wrap up shortly.
A non-disparagement agreement is obviously important to both sides, as Kelly has hinted that she knows about some of the skeletons in NBC’s closet. Last month, a friend of Kelly told Fox News that she wouldn’t sign an NDA “if NBC News keeps spreading lies about her.”
Kelly’s attorney, Bryan Freedman, and NBC also publicly bickered last month before the story fell out of the national spotlight as midterm elections approached. Freedman accused NBC of allowing “completely false and irresponsible” rumors to circulate, while the network mocked Freedman for negotiating through the media.
Freedman and NBC did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
NBC announced on Oct. 26 that Kelly’s troubled hour of the NBC News flagship “Today” would not return after her controversial “blackface” remarks. She was only about halfway through a three-year mega contract that pays her $23 million per annum.
NBC has declared that it won’t speak about Kelly until the exit negotiations are complete.
Kelly’s fate at NBC was essentially sealed when she pondered why “blackface” is frowned upon during a live panel discussion last month.
“But what is racist?” Kelly asked. “Because you get in trouble if you’re a white person who puts on blackface on Halloween, or a black person who puts on white face for Halloween… back when I was a kid that was OK, as long as you were dressing like a character”
After a swift backlash, Kelly offered a heartfelt apology and even received a standing ovation from the in-studio audience – but that wasn’t good enough for NBC News Chairman Andy Lack.
Many industry insiders feel that the “blackface” scandal provided NBC with an opportune excuse to dump the high-paid host. Kelly, a champion of the #MeToo movement, had irked network honchos by taking on-air shots at NBC for not hiring an independent law firm to conduct an investigation into the culture of the company.
The Daily Beast published a bombshell report in September that detailed Lack’s history of using nondisclosure and separation agreements to his advantage. The story also noted that Lack was “annoyed” Kelly insisted “on turning the show into a regular forum for the alleged victims of powerful men.”
Lack’s news division has been long under fire for refusing to air Ronan Farrow’s reporting on now-disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein's sexual misconduct. Farrow’s reporting helped launch the #MeToo movement and won the coveted Pulitzer Prize after it was published in The New Yorker.
In addition to the Weinstein debacle, NBC declared that management was oblivious to Matt Lauer’s widespread sexual misconduct – which was found via in-house investigators.