One of 2017's biggest TV stories involved Megyn Kelly's controversial career swap from Fox News to NBC News, and the host's early months on Today have suffered in the ratings. Now, she is on one side of a celebrity feud with actress Jane Fonda that was sparked by a Today interview in which Kelly brought up the Grace & Frankie star's history with plastic surgery. As opposed to getting swept under the rug, this situation has since snowballed, and the far more outspoken Kelly has expressed her contemptuous feelings about Fonda in a big way.
Here's the nutshell version of how it all went down. Jane Fonda and Robert Redford appeared on Today to promote their film Our Souls at Night, and Megyn Kelly shoehorned a question in about Fonda's past plastic surgery, which immediately made the vibe thorny. Fonda seemed surprised and insulted, and clearly didn't want to tackle that subject matter, putting Kelly in the hot seat for pressing the issue. Many viewers slammed Kelly for her line of questions, and it wasn't the first time one of Kelly's guests had chastised the host for her line of questioning.
Megyn Kelly initially kept silent about it all, though, and it indeed might have gone away quietly had Fonda not continued talking about the incident with other outlets. Kelly was then inspired to craft a short Today segment focused entirely on making Jane Fonda out to be a hypocrite for appearing insulted about the plastic surgery questions. Not only did Kelly compile a selection of clips showing Fonda openly and eagerly talking about plastic surgery on other talk shows, but she also brought up arguably the biggest scandal in Fonda's career. In Kelly's words:
For years [Fonda] has spoken openly about her joy in giving a cultural face to older women. The truth is, most older women look nothing like Fonda, who is now 80. And if Fonda really wants to have an honest discussion about older women's cultural face, then her plastic surgery is tough to ignore. . . . But I have no regrets about that question, nor am I in the market for a lesson from Jane Fonda on what is and is not appropriate. This is a woman whose name is synonymous with outrage. Look at her treatment of our military during the Vietnam War,. Many of our veterans still call her "Hanoi Jane," thanks to her radio broadcasts which attempted to shame American troops. She posed on an anti-aircraft gun used to shoot down our American pilots. She called our P.O.W.s hypocrites and liars and referred to their torture as 'understandable.' Even she had to apologize years later for that gun picture. But not for the rest of it. By the way, she still says she is not proud of America. So the moral indignation is a little much.
To be expected, Megyn Kelly's Today rant set off a new string of reactions, with some backing Kelly's views that Fonda had zero reason to single Kelly out for the plastic surgery quote. On the flip side, some have called Kelly out for dragging this situation out longer than it needed to be, with former Today anchor Ann Curry chastising the current anchor for putting herself out there as part of the stories instead of using her time to shine light on other stories, saying that Kelly's diatribe "is not journalism."
To her credit, Megyn Kelly did keep the situation on the back burner until Jane Fonda took a more personal shot at Kelly's skills in an interview with Variety.
It wasn't like I was upset. I was stunned. It was so inappropriate. It showed that she's not that good an interviewer.
Jane Fonda did say that she would return to Today at some point in the future if Megyn Kelly "comes around and learns her stuff," though that likely didn't help her standing in Kelly's eyes. All things considered, it's possible Fonda and Kelly may never share the same stage again.
You can catch Megyn Kelly on Today every morning, with the morning show airing on NBC starting at 8 a.m. ET. And you can watch Jane Fonda in Season 4 of Grace & Frankie, which is available to stream now on Netflix. To see when other new and returning shows will be hitting the primetime hours, head to our midseason premiere schedule.