She’s back and she’s feisty as ever. It’s seems that Megyn Kelly’s 12 weeks of maternity leave has done her some good. She is now ready to stick it Fox News contributor Mike Gallagher who accused her and all other American working mothers of “running a racket” when it comes to taking time off work to recover from carrying another human being inside their body for nine months.
The story begins with Mike Gallagher’s appearance on Megyn Kelly’s America Live program which was being guest hosted by Martha MacCallum. That scenario prompted Chris Wallace to ask Gallagher, “She’s an attractive woman, don’t you think?”
The following is the dialogue that ensued:
GALLAGHER: She’s ni — and she does a good job. She really -when is – and Megyn’s on, still on maternity leave, right?
WALLACE: What do you mean, you complaining she’s, she’s bonding with her baby.
GALLAGHER: What a racket that is. I mean, men don’t get to bond –
WALLACE: What a racket?
GALLAGHER: Well, how much time does she get off to have to –
WALLACE: Probably three months.
GALLAGHER: That’s unbelievable. Do you think you’d get three months off when – how much time did you get off when your kids were –
WALLACE: Let me tell you. When my children were born, one week was all I could stand. Then I wanted to come back, and that wasn’t even very happy about that –
GALLAGHER: Nice, that’s great.
WALLACE: And it was like, ‘Let’s go – let’s get out of here.’
GALLAGHER: Yeah, honey, I have to leave –
WALLACE: I’d go to the White House to hide from my children.
WALLACE: It’s only the truth, and now about every man in the audience is sitting there saying, ‘Damn right.’
GALLAGHER: ‘He’s right, he’s right on the money’ and every woman hates you right now.
WALLACE: Well, that’s [inaudible].
Big mistake, Mr. Gallagher. And I ain’t just referring to your lack of knowledge about maternity leave, which according to the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, introduced by William D. Ford (D-MI) and passed by President Clinton, provides an entitlement of up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave during any 12-month period to eligible, covered employees for birth and care of the eligible employee’s child as well as other medical issues. You have now upset the Megynator who is a big fan of this largely Democratically endorsed act (Senate vote Y/N: D 58/2 – R 13/25; House vote Y/N: D 224/29 – R 40/134)!
On Monday’s America Live program, Megyn Kelly let him have it:
KELLY: Alright no more stalling… Here’s what you said on your radio show. Stand by.
-CLIP (See above for dialogue)
KELLY: Nice, Chris. But at least he attempted a defense.
Would you care to explain those remarks, Mr. Gallagher? Maternity leave? It’s a racket?
GALLAGHER: Well, first of all, everybody on your show, they’re rats and traitors. I kept saying when this first hit the fan, I said, “Please tell me. I wanna get to Megyn. Did she hear it? Is she aware of it?”
No response. It was crickets. So everybody on that show that’s loyal to you…
KELLY: No, not only that but I gave a couple of interviews over the summer to some publications and the reporters all asked me about it saying, “How about this pinhead, Mike Gallagher?”
And I said, “Yeah, he is. Right.”
KELLY: What a moronic thing to say.
GALLAGHER: Well, are you going to disagree that there is a d-… Now, again I’m on my knees…
KELLY: (her face seeming a bit more serious) Oh you’re standing by- Are you doubling down? N-n-n-n-no! Are you not taking those remarks back? Is maternity leave, according to you, a racket?
GALLAGHER: (sarcastically) Well, do men get maternity leave, Megyn? I can’t believe I’m even asking you this ‘cause you’re just gonna kill me.
Oh no you di’int! Here she comes! The Megynator!
KELLY: Guess what, honey, they do. Yes they do. It’s called the Family Medical Leave Act.
GALLAGHER: Really? Rea-?
KELLY: If men would like to take three months off to go take care of their newborn baby they can.
GALLAGHER: Alright, let me give you an explanation. I was drinking that day. I was a little bit drunk and I, uh, I, I, I…
KELLY: Now you’re more along the path I expected.
And now you’re going to get an education in American exceptionalism.
KELLY: Just in case you didn’t know… Just in case you didn’t know, Mike, I want you to know that the United States is the only country in the advanced world that doesn’t allow paid, doesn’t require paid maternity leave. Now I happen to work for a nice employer that gives me paid maternity leave but virtually no… The United States is the only advanced country that doesn’t require paid leave.
If anything the United States is in the Dark Ages when it comes to maternity leave and what is it about getting pregnant and carrying a baby NINE MONTHS that you don’t think deserves a few months off so bonding and recovery can take place? Hmm?
GALLAGHER: I even think one of the people on your staff said, “Oh pay it no… Mike, she didn’t even notice. Megyn isn’t even aware you said this.” And I said, “Well, let’s not bring this to her attention. Shall we?” I mean they’re all rats and traitors.
KELLY: You can’t answer the question because there is no answer, my friend! And by the way, the studies show the women who spend less time with their babies after they’re first born are more likely to get depressed and be unhealthy. And I leave it at that, Mike Gallagher.
GALLAGHER: Well then you should be happy. You should be happy then. You should be a happy camper.
KELLY: I’m happy with my baby and my employer. With you? Not so much.
GALLAGHER: I am too. I am sorry.
Well, good for Megyn Kelly for standing up for working mothers! What’s sad though is that she’s right about the fact that America is in the Dark Ages when it comes to maternity leave. According to a February 23, 2011 report titled Failing its Families: Lack of Paid Leave and Work-Family Supports in the US by Human Rights Watch, 178 countries surveyed guarantee paid leave for new mothers. The three listed in the report that don’t? Swaziland, Papua New Guinea, and, you guessed it, the United States.
Additionally, according to the report, paternity leave is gaining in popularity worldwide especially among competitive countries:
At least 49 countries provide some form of leave that fathers can use around the birth of a child, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO). The number was higher when counting paid parental leave available to either parent. The Heymann and Earle study, which covered more countries, found that 54 guarantee paid paternity leave. That study also determined that 67 percent of the most competitive countries offer paid leave for new fathers, compared to 33 percent of the least competitive countries.
That’s great news for the rest of the world. But until we get more women like Megyn Kelly advocating for the rights of workers… Wait, who am I kidding? Well at least the clip is entertaining to watch.
Fox’s Mike Gallagher Discussing Megyn Kelly’s Maternity Leave: “What A Racket That Is”
- Megyn Kelly Defends The Family Medical Leave Act (crooksandliars.com)
- WATCH: Megyn Kelly Excoriates Radio Host Mike Gallagher For Calling Maternity Leave ‘A Racket’ (businessinsider.com)
- Megyn Kelly Returns To Air And Mocks Mike Gallagher For His ‘Maternity Racket’ Comment (mediaite.com)