The war of words between Megyn Kelly and Jane Fonda escalated Monday after Kelly delivered a stern rebuke to the actress and attacked Fonda's anti-Vietnam War activism.
In September, during an interview with Fonda during her hour of "Today," Kelly brought up Fonda's plastic surgery, and Fonda seemed to take offense. Fonda has subsequently criticized how Kelly handled the interview, joking about it on another hour of "Today" earlier this month. Then, over the weekend, Fonda described Kelly as a poor interviewer in a conversation with Variety magazine, suggesting she would come on the show again when Kelly had “learned her stuff.”
That led to Kelly's blast at the end of her show on Monday.
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Kelly questioned why Fonda, who is 80, was upset about being asked about plastic surgery after repeatedly discussing the matter elsewhere. She said she had kept her silence despite Fonda's repeated attacks, but that the time had come to address "the poor-me routine."
"This is a woman whose name is synonymous with outrage. Look at her treatment of our military," Kelly told the audience, which clapped as the remarks continued.
Kelly mentioned that Fonda — an activist against the Vietnam War in the 1970s — had posed on an anti-aircraft gun that was used to shoot American pilots.
"She called our prisoners of war 'hypocrites and liars,'" Kelly said. "She referred to their torture as 'understandable.' She still says she is not proud of America. So the moral indignation is a bit much."
Kelly, a former Fox News host who is set to cover politics again when she joins the NBC News team covering the State of the Union at the end of the month, did not hold back in her response.
"She put plastic surgery out there and she said she wanted to discuss the plight of older women," said Kelly. "She has no business lecturing anyone on what's offensive."
"I gave her the chance to empower other women, young and old, on a subject which she purports to know well and she rejected it. That's OK. But I have no regrets about the question."
"Megyn Kelly Today" averaged 2.9 million total viewers Monday through Thursday of last week, according to Nielsen Media Research, the highest they have been since the show began in September. The show has been tackling topics ranging from sexual harassment to female empowerment.