Kelly announced the sit-down on her Twitter account on Thursday, teasing “a ton of news” through tough questions in “a riveting exchange.” An airdate was not announced for the interview, which Kelly will host on her own social media channels, as part of her recent venture back into the spotlight, following her chaotic run at NBC and long tenure at Fox News.
Reade, a former aide to Biden, claims that when he was a senator from Delaware in 1993, he pinned her up against a wall and penetrated her with his fingers. Reade said she filed a complaint, but that has not been located. Biden denies Reade’s claims, and said during a television interview last week that the alleged incident “never, never happened.”
The interview with Kelly marks Reade’s first on-camera interview since Biden denied her allegations of sexual assault last week.
Reade’s accusations have highlighted the challenge that comes with merging politics and the #MeToo movement during an election year. The media response, or lack thereof, to Biden’s allegation has become heavily politicized with conservatives slamming liberals for a double-standard, comparing the minimal coverage around Reade’s accusation to the media firestorm that surrounded Christine Blasey Ford’s assault allegation against Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Investigative journalist Rich McHugh produced the interview between Kelly and Reade, Variety has learned. McHugh has been one of the few reporters aggressively covering Reade’s allegations over the past month.
McHugh is the former NBC News producer who worked alongside Ronan Farrow on the Harvey Weinstein story, before Farrow took the bombshell to scoop to The New Yorker. The reporting duo have repeatedly said that NBC quashed their Weinstein story, though the news organization maintains their defense that the story was not ready for air. (The story went on to win the Pulitzer Prize once Farrow published with The New Yorker.)
Earlier this week, Variety exclusively reported that Kelly was one of many former NBC staffers who provided testimony to the New York Attorney General’s office to share her workplace experience at NBC News, as part of the A.G.’s probe into sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation at the company. It’s unclear if the investigation is ongoing, and NBC says they have not been made aware of any inquiry.
Kelly had a tumultuous tenure at NBC News, riddled with controversy, which hit a breaking point after she sparked backlash for her comments about wearing blackface on Halloween on “Megyn Kelly Today.” The star anchor had a strained relationship with now-departing chairman Andy Lack, who wooed her over and poached her from Fox News, bringing her into NBC for an eye-popping $69 million contract.
Ever since Kelly’s exit from NBC News in early 2019, after her morning show was canceled in fall 2018, she has kept a relatively low profile, though she made one TV appearance on Fox News to sit down with her former colleague Tucker Carlson, and around Oscar season, she made headlines for sharing her thoughts on “Bombshell,” the film about the Roger Ailes saga in which she was portrayed by the Academy Award-nominated Charlize Theron.
A free agent ever since departing NBC, Kelly has ventured out on her own, landing interviews, which she hosts on her social media accounts. She has spoken up against “cancel culture” and the age of “political correctness,” and appears to be focused on shining a spotlight on interview subjects who are not widely covered by the media. In November, Kelly sat down with the former ABC News producer who was accused of leaking a video that caught Amy Robach on a hot mic, venting her frustrations about an interview with a Jeffrey Epstein victim that she said her network opted not to run.
Reade is being represented by high-profile attorney Douglas Wigdor, who represented Juliette Huddy in connection with her claims against former Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly, and also represents six Weinstein victims, including Tarale Wulff who testified in the New York trial. In announcing his firm’s representation of Reade against Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, Wigdor — who publicly supported Donald Trump in his 2016 presidential campaign — said, “Our representation of Ms. Reade has absolutely nothing to do with politics…We at Wigdor LLP firmly believe that every survivor of sexual assault has the right to competent legal counsel, and we will represent Ms. Reade zealously, just as we would any other victim of sexual violence.”
Brian Steinberg contributed to this report.