It’s been a whirlwind 24 hours for Megyn Kelly. The Megyn Kelly Today host found herself in hot water with viewers yesterday after making a comment that many perceived to be pro fat-shaming, with the 47-year-old going on air once more today to explain the remarks in question.
The trouble began when the former lawyer welcomed gust Maria Kang, the fit mother behind the controversial ‘What’s Your Excuse?’ campaign, who went viral after those words were posted on a photo of her with her three children sporting rock hard abs.
“Your goal is to be an inspiration, not a shamer,” Kelly asked the viral star, who replied, “No, never, that was never my intent, my intent was always to say, ‘You know, if I can do it, I mean, I’ve had three kids in a row… then you can do it too.”
From there, the topic turned to accountability, with the viral workout queen saying, “I am not an accountability coach, but if you go to my Facebook page, I’m in your face, kind of every day, like, if I’m working out, you can work out too.”
“That’s what you should do!” Kelly said. “You should parlay the shaming thing into a professional business. Because some of us want to be shamed! When I was in law school, and I was gaining weight, I said to my stepfather, ‘If you see me go in that kitchen one more time, you say, ‘Where you going, fata**?’ And it works!”
Immediately, Twitter was ablaze with backlash, with many taking the talking head to task for what they felt was encouragement of dangerous fat-shaming behavior, including one Meghan McCain, who posted her own tweet on the subject..
Today, the talk show host is answering for her remarks, opening her show with the topic of weight in America. “Close to 40 percent of Americans are obese, they need support, they need kindness, and one thing they definitely don’t need is to be body shamed,” she began.
Turning to yesterday’s controversial remarks, she addressed them head on, saying, “I said something on this show yesterday that clearly struck a nerve, and I think it’s a conversation that we need to have, openly. We were discussing body shaming others, something I absolutely do not support, in fact, quite the opposite.”
After showing the clip once more, she went on to say, “I do not endorse this reality. The truth is, I loathe it. My entire family is or has been overweight or obese: My nana, my mom, my sister, and my brother. I spoke to my sister yesterday, and she gave me permission to share that she was at one point, over 300 pounds, and ultimately chose to have gastric bypass surgery.”
She continued on to share a story from her childhood, when she heard someone call her mom “fat” and came home upset. “My mom looked at me and said, ‘I am fat, Meg, and I said, ‘No, you’re not,” to which she replied, “Megyn, in this house, we do not lie to make others feel good.”
Kelly would later be the subject of the term at the hands of school bullies herself, and says she took drastic measures to reduce her size, including diet pills, obsessive exercise, and reducing her calorie intake to just 500 per day. “My heart was racing all day, my hair and my skin were dry, but I was thin! And so unhappy” she recalls. “I was scared of gaining weight because of the insane standard this country holds its women to.”
While she says that while she’s eating healthier these days, the former FOX news correspondent says that she, “like every woman I know, still [wrestles] with body image, and still [cringes] when I hear a person attacked for his or her weight.
She concluded by saying, “Please know I would never encourage that toward any person. I’ve been thinking a lot about why I once encouraged it toward myself. What I know for sure is that weight is an issue for millions of people, thin and heavy alike, and neither deserves to be judged or shamed for how they choose to handle that struggle.”
The one thing missing from her speech, however, was an outright apology, and fans were quick to note it.
Still, others appreciated her honestly, praising her for getting so candid.
Kelly has yet to issue any further comment.
What do you think of Kelly’s controversial remarks? Share over @BritandCo.
(Photo via Bryan Bedder/Getty)