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Former staffer calls ‘Megyn Kelly Today’ an ‘abusive’ workplace in leaked email
Kelley was not implicated in the email.
Less than two months after NBC News fired Matt Lauer over complaints of “inappropriate workplace behavior,” Megyn Kelly Today may be under scrutiny next. The Daily Mail claims a leaked email from former head writer Kevin Bleyer details a workplace rife with “abusive treatment” and “relentless scapegoating.”
After Bleyer was fired from the show, he forwarded an email originally meant for HR to the entire staff, which was leaked to the Daily Mail on Thursday. In it, he says co-executive producers Jackie Levin and Christine Cataldi engage in “toxic” behavior behind-the-scenes, with Levin showing “narcissism” on set and regularly botching his scripts. In one case, the email reads, Levin called Bleyer a “fucking whiner” after receiving constructive criticism from him. In another case, Levin insisted that the show’s staff “use NBC resources to edit a music video” for her son’s college a capella organization. Meanwhile, Bleyer says, Cataldi enables Levin’s actions while occasionally engaging in similar behavior, such as calling her assistant “an idiot.”
Allegations in the leaked memo also detail incompetence. In one case, Bleyer claims Levin insisted on using email over Avid’s iNews program to prepare for the show, then lashed out at staff for sending “too many emails” on her orders. In another case, Bleyer alleges Cataldi botched one of Bleyer’s scripts, and when Megyn Kelly learned about the error, Cataldi and Levin both “let her believe” Bleyer made the error. No allegations in the email were leveled at Kelly, however.
“I’m sad to say, speaking candidly and confidentially, the executive incompetence continues–as does the dysfunctional management, abusive treatment, maddening hypocrisy, staggering inefficiencies, acidic and deficient communication, and relentless scapegoating,” Bleyer email reads in the Daily Mail’s transcript. “Jackie Levin persists in creating a toxic and demeaning environment, and Christine Cataldi enables and reinforces it.”
Bleyer says he previously sent complaints to both NBC News president Noah Oppenheim and NBC’s HR department, arguing that management on the show is incompetent. He also says NBC creates a hypocritical environment where Megyn Kelly Today tackles interviews and stories pertaining to #MeToo but maintains a workplace environment where abuse is common and talented staff are looking to leave.
“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,” Bleyer wrote. “I have personally overheard these conversations myself. If that happens–if there is any retaliation at all–I anticipate there may be further action through official legal avenues.”
Despite the allegations, NBC News has defended both producers, arguing that the show’s momentum will lead to only further success.
“Jackie and Christine are being attacked unfairly,” an NBC News spokesperson told the Daily Mail. “They are both excellent and experienced producers, and have the full support of everyone here. “They, and the team, are fully focused on continuing the show’s momentum as it continues to climb in the ratings.”
Ana Valens is an LGBTQ reporter and essayist for the Daily Dot. Her work has previously appeared in Bitch, the Establishment, Vice's Waypoint, Rolling Stone's Glixel, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.