A Sports Illustrated swimsuit editor criticized Megyn Kelly in a podcast on Tuesday for her critical tweet of tennis star Naomi Osaka.
During an episode of the "People Every Day" podcast, the editor, M.J. Day, told host Janine Rubenstein that she thought Kelly — a former anchor for NBC News and Fox News — was targeting a woman who "did nothing wrong."
"It's such bullying, and it's so unnecessary," Day said Tuesday. "I'm like, 'You know what, you're journalists. How about you do your job and you fact-check, instead of jumping all over this woman for attention?'"
Osaka made international headlines in May when she announced she wouldn't participate in post-match news conferences during the French Open, later leaving the tournament and withdrawing from Wimbledon. At the time, Osaka said in social media posts that she would instead prioritize her mental health.
In tweets on Monday, Kelly and conservative commentator Clay Travis appeared to accuse Osaka of not being genuine about her struggles after she graced the covers of multiple magazines earlier this month.
"Since saying she’s too introverted to talk to the media after tennis matches, Naomi Osaka has launched a reality show, a Barbie, and now is on the cover of the SI swimsuit issue," Travis tweeted.
Kelly joined in, adding: "Let’s not forget the cover of (& interview in) Vogue Japan and Time Mag!"
In response, Osaka said in a now-deleted tweet: "Seeing as you’re a journalist I would’ve assumed you would take the time to research what the lead times are for magazines, if you did that you would’ve found out I shot all of my covers last year."
"Instead your first reaction is to hop on here and spew negativity, do better Megan."
Day confirmed in Tuesday's podcast episode that the photo shoot occurred in December, months before Osaka went public about her struggles with mental health.
The tennis champion appeared to block Kelly on Twitter after responding to her.
Osaka "blocked me while taking a shot at me,” Kelly tweeted. “She is apparently arguing that she shot her many covers b/4 publicly claiming she was too socially anxious to deal w/press. Truth is she just doesn’t like Qs she can’t control. Admit it.”
Day added in Tuesday's episode that Kelly was "part of the problem" in publicly addressing mental health issues.
"How about we do our due diligence and make sure we know what the reality of a situation before we come for people?" she said. "It broke my heart to see someone who is really living her life for the betterment of others while also trying to pursue her own passion, which is tennis and fashion."
"Let her live. Let her make decisions for herself that protect her own well-being," Day said of Osaka. "It's at no cost to anyone."
When reached for comment, Kelly responded by attacking NBC News and did not address the bullying accusations from the Sports Illustrated swimsuit editor.