Fox News host Megyn Kelly is set to interview Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, of TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting” fame, on Wednesday night about allegations that their eldest son molested five underage girls while he was a teenager.
Kelly is so renowned for her tough interviews that the New York Times Magazine coined the term “Megyn moment” to describe those unpredictable instances when the Fox News host has turned a guest’s network-friendly talking points back on him or her. But viewers shouldn’t expect a “Megyn moment” Wednesday night, as Kelly has said that her interview with the Duggars wouldn’t amount to a “cross examination.”
“This isn’t gonna be a cross examination of a family,” she said on Monday night’s “The Kelly File.” “This is going to be an interview. I want to hear their story.”
Kelly told entertainment news site Deadline that she approached the Duggar family about doing the interview, telling their representative that “I think it’s a service to you to have me ask tough questions.” The Duggars haven’t publicly commented on the allegations beyond a vague Facebook statement about a “dark and difficult time” following some “bad mistakes” Josh Duggar made as a teenager. Josh Duggar also released a statement acknowledging that he “acted inexcusably” as a youth without further elaboration.
The family had been widely expected to address the allegations with Kelly in more depth, but there’s one thing viewers apparently won’t get answers to. After telling Fox News’ resident media critic Howard Kurtz that “nothing is off limits” in the Duggar interview, Kelly said on Monday night’s program that she wouldn’t ask the family about the alleged acts of molestation themselves.
“I don’t plan on getting into the specific details about what was done because my understanding is the victims don’t want to discuss that either,” she said. “If you want to read it you can see it in the police report, which you shouldn’t be looking at anyway. It shouldn’t have been released.”
Since the interview was pre-taped, it’s unclear whether the Wednesday morning publication of a second report, which was released by the local sheriff’s office and revealed one of Duggar’s alleged victims was just 5 years old, will impact the segment.
But Kelly has made it clear that she was incensed by the prior release of a 2006 police report on Josh Duggar’s alleged sex offenses to tabloid magazine In Touch. The magazine obtained it through an open records request. Kelly’s argued that Arkansas’ state freedom of information law specifically exempts juvenile police records; both Josh Duggar and the victims were minors at the time the abuse allegedly occurred.
“When Michael Brown and Officer Darren Wilson had their exchange and people wanted to look at his juvenile records, they weren’t allowed to do that. They were sealed,” she said on Tuesday’s “The Kelly File.” “We seal the records of juveniles in this country because we’ve made a policy decision that we aren’t going to hold their acts against them unless a judge says we can release them or they commit a felony for which they are charged as an adult — neither of which happened here.”
Kelly also said that the release “re-victimized” the girls who were allegedly abused and that the chief of the Springdale, Arkansas Police Department erred in turning the report over to In Touch. Arkansas state Sen. Bart Hester (R), a friend of the Duggar family, has used the same rationale to call for the chief to be fired and possibly face criminal charges.
The Fox News host also has been critical of other media outlets’ coverage of the Duggar molestation allegations, particularly when those outlets linked the reality TV family to various Republican presidential contenders who took photos with them.
“There is a question about why they were so excited to feast on this carcass,” she said on Monday night.
The interview is scheduled to air at 9 p.m. ET on “The Kelly File.”