NEW YORK •In an unusual broadside during NBC's morning hours on Monday, Megyn Kelly blasted Jane Fonda, the 80-year-old Hollywood eminence who has been critical of the host in recent months.
"When she first complained publicly after the programme - and repeatedly - I chose to say nothing, as my general philosophy is what other people think of me is none of my business," Kelly said. "However, Fonda was at it again last week, including right here on NBC and then again elsewhere. So it's time to address the 'poor me' routine."
The skirmish began in September, when Kelly asked about her use of plastic surgery in the first week of Megyn Kelly Today. Fonda seemed thrown by the question and the clip of the interview went viral, becoming symbolic of Kelly's rocky transition from hard-hitting prime time Fox News anchor to sunny morning NBC host.
Fonda has brought up the interview twice in the last week - during a Today appearance and in a Variety interview over the weekend.
"I was stunned," she said of the question. "It was so inappropriate. It showed that she's not that good an interviewer."
Kelly, 47, had heard enough, telling her viewers she was not about to listen to Fonda "on what is and is not appropriate - after all, this is a woman whose name is synonymous with outrage".
In the final 10 minutes of Megyn Kelly Today, she reeled off clip after clip, Daily Show-style, of Fonda talking openly about her plastic surgery in past interviews.
"Fonda was on to promote a film about ageing," Kelly said. "For years she has spoken openly about her joy in giving a cultural face to older women. Well, the truth is, most older women look nothing like Fonda, who is now 80."
She also invoked Fonda's nickname from the cultural wars of five decades ago - "Hanoi Jane" - adding that it had been bestowed upon the actress because she had tried to "shame American troops".
"By the way, she still says she's not proud of America," Kelly said. "So the moral indignation is a little much. She put her plastic surgery out there. She said she wanted to discuss the plight of older women in America. And, honestly, she has no business lecturing anyone on what qualifies as offensive."