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The real life faces and stories behind Bombshell, the story of Fox News' #MeToo movement.

It’s only the start of 2020 but already, Bombshell has cemented itself as one of the best films of the year.

Starring Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie, among others, the film is based on true events and follows the take-down of Roger Ailes, the former chairman of Fox News – a major conservative news organisation in America, run by Rupert Murdoch.

You can watch the trailer for Bombshell below, post continues after video.

Those who’ve seen Stan’s miniseries on the same topic, The Loudest Voice, know the disturbing story well. But what Bombshell does differently is, it tells us the story from the perspectives of Ailes’ victims. The women sexually harassed and/or assaulted by Ailes and other powerful men at Fox.

The film is brilliant and the acting, uncanny. But it’s easy to forget while watching a movie like Bombshell is there are real faces – real people – behind the characters on the big screen.

Keep scrolling to see the faces and read the stories of the real-life people behind Bombshell.

Real-life characters in Bombshell.

Megyn Kelly, played by Charlize Theron.

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In Bombshell, Charlize Theron's Megyn Kelly is the film's main character and narrator. Where The Loudest Voice focusses on Ailes personal reaction to Gretchen Carlson's lawsuit, Bombshell tells the story from the other side - from the women who were still working at Fox.

Kelly worked as a corporate lawyer for a decade before making a career change to journalism. She worked as a general assignment reporter for WJLA-TV (ABC 7) based in Washington, D.C before joining Fox News in 2004.

Kelly detailed the sexual harassment she endured from Ailes in her memoir Settle for More, which was released in November of 2016. In a nearly 30-minute-long video of a round table interview with some of her former colleagues posted after they'd watched the film, Kelly said the scene of the incident in the film was accurate.

The journalist read out diary entries she had from the time, in which she said she felt "powerless".

Writing on the day Ailes kissed her in his office, Kelly wrote: "I was in his office. We were hugging goodbye. He kept holding my arms, looking into my eyes and then he kissed me on the lips... So f***ing awkward. I wanted to run out of there. Nightmare."

That said, Kelly denies claims she stayed silent at Fox during Ailes' lawsuit, and said a scene in which she called one of Ailes' other Fox victims a "snowflake" was not factual.

 

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My husband @dougbrunt and I recently took our three kids to see the movie “Frozen 2.” As we walked into the theatre, our 6-year-old stopped at this poster promoting another movie hitting the big screen. The ad confused him because it appears to show a picture of me. But while the movie “Bombshell” is loosely based on my experience during the sexual harassment scandal at Fox News, I have nothing to do with this film. I did not sell the rights to my story or book and only got my first look at the film once it was past the point of any possible edits, though there are certainly some I would have made. Watching this picture was an incredibly emotional experience for me, and for those with whom I saw it. Sexual harassment is pervasive in this country; it can leave scars that do not heal. My heart goes out to those who’ve gone through it, who I hope might find some comfort in this story. As for my thoughts about the film, I’ll have more soon.

A post shared by Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) on

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Posting on Instagram, Kelly said:

"While the movie Bombshell is loosely based on my experience during the sexual harassment scandal at Fox News, I have nothing to do with this film. I did not sell the rights to my story or book and only got my first look at the film once it was past the point of any possible edits, though there are certainly some I would have made.”

Gretchen Carlson, played by Nicole Kidman.

Nicole Kidman
Images: Lionsgate/Getty.

When Gretchen Carlson – considered the pioneer of the #MeToo movement – filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes, she opened up a can of worms that led to many other women coming forward with disturbing allegations against him, including former Fox staffer Laurie Luhn, who said he sexually harassed her for 20 years.

Other women claimed to have been demoted and taken off air when they rebuffed Ailes' allegations.

Carlson alleged herself that she was terminated from the network because she refused Ailes’ sexual advances and questioned gender-based inequities at the network. She also alleged that her former co-host, Steve Doocey, had treated her in a sexist and condescending way.

The former Miss America, played by Nicole Kidman in Bombshell, spent 11 years as an anchor, host, and interviewer for Fox.

Carlson settled with Fox News for $20 million not long after filing her suit, and now hosts documentaries for Lifetime and A&E and runs a nonprofit focussed on empowering women.

Roger Ailes, played by John Lithgow.

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Roger Ailes is played by John Lithgow in the film. Image: Getty.
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Roger Ailes was the founding CEO of Fox News, holding the job from 1996 until his resignation in 2016, when he resigned amid several sexual harassment allegations.

Throughout his 20 years in the role, Ailes led the conservative news station through many landmark moments, including September 11, Barack Obama's presidential election, and the beginning of US President Donald Trump's election campaign.

In 2014, American author Gabriel Sherman wrote The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News – and Divided a Country. In it, he alleged that Ailes had offered a television producer a raise if she slept with him. He, and Fox News, denied the allegations and rejected Sherman's book.

But in 2016, led by former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson's sexual harassment claim, women began to come forward with their stories about how Ailes had made unwanted advances of a sexual nature towards them, telling them it would help further their careers.

Ten days after Carlson's lawsuit, New York magazine reported that an internal review into her claims had expanded into a broader review of Ailes' leadership. It reported the Murdochs had given Ailes an ultimatum – either he must resign or be fired.

On July 21, 2016, Ailes resigned from Fox News. He received a $40 million sum as part of his exit agreement. He was thanked for his contribution to the network, without mention of the harassment allegations and went on to become an adviser to the Donald Trump campaign.

On May 18, 2017, Ailes died aged 77 due to a subdural hematoma, aggravated by his hemophilia.

Elizabeth Ailes, played by Connie Britton.

Elizabeth Ailes with husband Roger. Image: Getty.
Elizabeth Ailes with husband Roger. Image: Getty.
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Elizabeth and Rogers Ailes married on Valentine's Day in 1998. They had met while working together at CNBC and she was his third wife.

Together they had one son, when Ailes was 59. After the harassment allegations surfaced, Elizabeth stuck by her husband.

When journalist Megyn Kelly came forward with her allegations, New York magazine reported that Elizabeth wanted Fox News' PR department to resurface racy photos of Kelly from GQ Magazine in an attempt to "discredit" her. The PR department refused.

The magazine also reported that Elizabeth had been considering divorce but they remained married until Ailes' death. Since his death, Elizabeth has largely remained out of the spotlight, though she still occasionally tweets and shares old images of her husband.

Rudi Bakhtiar, played by Nazanin Boniadi.

Nazanin Boniadi.
Images: Getty.
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Although we don't see much of the character of Rudi Bakhtiar in Bombshell, her real-life story is crucial in showing a pattern of sexual misconduct at Fox.

A scene in Bombshell depicts what happened in real life when Baktitar, a Fox News correspondent, was reportedly sexually harassed by the then-Fox News D.C. Bureau Chief Brian Wilson in 2006. Baktitar says Wilson met her in the lobby of her hotel and said he would make her a full-time Washington correspondent.

Then, he eluded to what he wanted from her in return for the promotion, saying, "Let’s just say I want to see the inside of your hotel room.’”

When Baktitar declined Wilson's advances, she was reassigned to another bureau. When she complained to HR, she was fired. According to her Twitter bio, Bakhtiar is currently a documentary filmmaker and hosts her own radio show called "Live with Rudi Bakhtiar”.

Juliet Huddy, played by Jennifer Morrison.

Jennifer Morrison
Images: Getty.

Audiences meet Juliet Huddy in the second half of Bombshell when Kelly goes looking for other women who'd be willing to speak out against Ailes and Fox.

At the time, Huddy was working at a local Fox affiliate station, where she'd been reassigned after being sexually assaulted by former Fox news anchor Bill O'Reilly. Prior to that, Huddy had hosted weekend episodes of the network's morning show Fox & Friends.

In 2016, Huddy's lawyers sent Fox a legal letter outlining her allegations against O'Reilly. Within weeks, she agreed not to sue and instead accepted a six-figure settlement from Fox’s parent company, 21st Century Fox.

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In 2017, Huddy said she was still terrified of Fox in an interview with Kelly, who was working at NBC at the time.

"I signed my NDA because I was terrified my entire world would be turned upside down by The Machine: media moguls, powerful executives, militant public relations mavens, expensive attorneys, all of whom had one mission: Keep Fox protected at all costs," she said.

"You’re just this one person that’s about to go up against literally a machine."

Fictional characters in Bombshell.

Kayla Pospisil, played by Margot Robbie.

Margot Robbie
Image: Lionsgate.

In Bombshell, Margot Robbie plays Kayla Pospisil, an Evangelical millennial and conservative keen to catch Ailes' attention for a news anchor position at Fox.

Unlike the other two lead characters, Pospisil is not based on a real-life person, but rather, is "an amalgamation of many women’s stories,” Robbie told EW.

Other fictional characters in Bombshell include Jess Carr, a liberal, lesbian Fox producer who works closely with Pospisil, played by Kate McKinnon. Megyn Kelly's staff - her producer Julia Clarke (Brigette Lundy-Paine), assistant Lily Balin (Liv Hewson), and executive producer Gil Norman (Rob Delaney) - are also fictional.

Bombshell is in cinemas now.

Feature image: Lionsgate and

Have you seen Bombshell yet? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

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