Sunny Hostin says her time at Fox News felt 'cultish,' calls Megyn Kelly 'aggressive'

Sunny Hostin says her time at Fox News felt 'cultish,' calls Megyn Kelly 'aggressive'

EW has since learned that Hostin — who claimed that "the shorter the skirt, the more airtime you got" at Fox — was allegedly not a paid network contributor.

Before her time as a cohost on The View, legal expert Sunny Hostin says she navigated a "really wild ride" during a temporary gig at the conservative Fox News network — a ride she "wanted to be over" sooner than later.

The 55-year-old TV personality joined The View's Behind the Table podcast Tuesday to reflect on her time appearing on Fox's The O'Reilly Factor, which ran from 1996 to 2017, where she offered broadcast counterpoints on legal topics to both Bill O'Reilly and Megyn Kelly — the latter of whom Hostin said wasn't the easiest to deal with on the air.

"People are always shocked that I worked at Fox, because they consider me to be extremely liberal and to the left. I'm actually not very far to the left, I'm a little more centrist. But, Fox was unlike any place I'd ever worked before, and unlike any place I've worked since. That's because it felt very cult-like," Hostin told View producer Brian Teta. "There was almost a mandate that would come from the top about what topics would be discussed on every show, and there were whiteboards on every floor. The shows were separated often by floors. You could see it as you walked in to where you were sitting. No. 1 was like, 'Obama sucks,' No. 2 was like, 'Obama was not born in this country.'"

Hostin said that the topics served as "the three things that we're going to talk about as a network on every single show," but that her job was "to push back on it" during her "Is it Legal?" segments on O'Reilly's program, which led to tension with Kelly.

"It was Megyn Kelly on one side and I was on the other. What I did learn was how to lean in to being on television, because, I will tell you, she was fine and it was great and we would talk, and that red light came on and she became a completely different person, a very telegenic person, very aggressive, assertive, and it caught me off guard only one time. I only need to experience that once," Hostin explained. "She took up all the air time, she took up all the air in the room, and I realized what my task was because I had the minority voice, of course, for Fox News viewers, that I had a mission, I wanted them to see the other side."

Hostin again called the network vibe a "cultish" culture, down to wardrobe choices. "The hair and makeup and clothing, I thought was a little inappropriate," she recalled. "The shorter the skirt, the more airtime you got."

<p>ABC; Eric Liebowitz/FOX Image Collection via Getty</p> Sunny Hostin on 'The View' ; Megyn Kelly on Fox News

ABC; Eric Liebowitz/FOX Image Collection via Getty

Sunny Hostin on 'The View' ; Megyn Kelly on Fox News

EW has reached out to representatives for Hostin, Kelly, and Fox News for comment.

Though Hostin spoke about her time at the network on the inside, EW has learned that Hostin was allegedly not a paid contributor to the network during her tenure on O'Reilly, a show popularized on Fox during the reign of controversial Fox CEO Roger Ailes, who died in 2017 after being sued by on-air personality Gretchen Carlson for sexual harassment.

Suzanne Scott, the network's first female CEO, began her tenure in 2018 and increased the number of women on the executive team by 50 percent since taking the title.

In recent months, the ladies of The View have spoken out against Fox and its hosts — including moderator Whoopi Goldberg's criticism of a theory hawked on the network that speculated on the government floating the idea of using Taylor Swift in a psychological operation to control public opinion.

Last week, presidential candidate Nikki Haley criticized The View during an interview on Fox's America Reports. "I've done quite a bit. I will tell you, as governor, we accomplished a lot, as U.N. ambassador, we accomplished a lot. I did a whole lot more than Whoopi Goldberg will ever do, and it is not the ladies on The View that I ever care to impress," Haley said.

The View airs weekdays at 11 a.m. ET on ABC. Listen to the Behind the Table podcast above.

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