It may not be much consolation to Megyn Kelly, but more Americans than not (45 percent vs. 26 percent) think that NBC’s decision to wind down the television host’s show was “too harsh” a punishment for her comments about blackface last week.
Still, despite the sympathy many Americans may have for her, only 21 percent have a favorable view of the former Fox News star. The same amount of people have a “very unfavorable” view of her. These findings come from a new Hollywood Reporter/Morning Consult survey conducted with a nationally representative sample of 2,201 adults.
Kelly is viewed far less charitably than her current (but soon-to-be former) employer, NBC, for which more than half (56 percent) of the respondents have either a somewhat or very favorably view of. Surprisingly, some 18 percent of Americans say they have never even heard of Kelly, who spent 13 years at Fox News and became a household name after Donald Trump started attacking her during his presidential campaign.
While Kelly’s comments about blackface, made during her Oct. 23 show, catalyzed the cancellation of Megyn Kelly Today, 48 percent of Americans say the comments did not change their opinion of her. Some 14 percent say the comments made them like her more, while 25 percent say they made them like her less.
NBC’s decision to end Kelly’s show following her comments makes “no difference” in how the network is viewed by a plurality of respondents, 41 percent, while only 17 percent say they now see the network more favorably.
While Kelly’s comments were a major media scandal, more than 40 percent of Americans say they have heard “not much” or nothing about Kelly recently. True to form, 66 percent of Americans say the coverage they have seen of Kelly has been “mostly negative.” A plurality of Americans (42 percent) believe the coverage of NBC has been neutral.
The poll was conducted on Oct. 25 and Oct. 26, two and three days after her comments and in the middle of the backlash that stemmed from them.