On Thursday’s edition of “Megyn Kelly Today”, the host stirred up a hornet’s nest of controversy while interviewing “Fit Mom” Maria Kang, a 37-year-old mother-of-three best known for being accused of fat-shaming in 2013 after posting a photo of her ripped physique on social media along with the caption, “What’s your excuse?”
During the interview, Kelly, 47, told viewers that while attending law school in the 1990s, she actually actually asked her stepfather to fat-shame her if he saw her packing on too many pounds.
“Some of us want to be shamed!” Kelly said on Thursday’s show. “When I was in law school, I was gaining weight, I said to my stepfather, ‘If you see me going into that kitchen one more time, you say, ‘Where you going, fat ass?’ And it works!”
Kelly’s remarks did not go over well, with numerous people taking to Twitter to bash the former Fox News personality for encouraging fat-shaming in tweets such as this one:
As a result, Kelly spoke directly to viewers during the opening of Friday’s show, addressing her controversial comments.
“I said something yesterday on the show that clearly struck a nerve and I think it’s a conversation we need to have openly,” said Kelly. “We were discussing body shaming others, something I obviously do not support, in fact quite the opposite.”
After showing a clip of her comments, Kelly admitted: “Many women have told me that they have done similar things to control their propensity to overeat. I understand that. The pressure to be thin is ubiquitous in America and those who are not can face heartbreaking cruelty. I do not endorse this reality. The truth is I loathe it.”
She continued: “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.”
Kelly then relayed a story from her childhood, recalling how, at age 6, she was in tears after a neighbour called her mother fat.
Kelly “thought it was entirely untrue, but my mom looked at me and said, ‘I am fat Megyn. And I said, ‘No, you’re not,’ to which she replied, ‘Megyn, in this house we do not lie to make others feel good.’ It was the first time I ever saw my mom through that lens and it was my first lesson about the lens through which most of this country judges heavy people — a brutal and unforgiving world.”
Kelly then revealed that, as a teenager, she “was chubby by any standard,” and “found myself on the wrong side of vicious bullies” who “subjected me to humiliating pranks. Those comments can cut deep, trust me, I know.”
Eventually, Kelly admitted that she began using “diet pills and excessive exercise,” even limiting herself to 500 calories a day. “My heart was racing all day, my hair and my skin were dry,” she said. “But I was thin! And so unhappy. I was scared of gaining weight because of the insane standard this country holds its women to.”
She concluded: “As an adult I have gotten healthier in my approach to eating, but I, like every woman I know, still wrestle with body image. And still cringe when I hear a person attacked for his or her weight. Please know I would never encourage that towards any person. I have been thinking a lot about why I once encouraged it to 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.”