Megyn Kelly attacking Naomi Osaka for gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit got her tons of backlash on social media. Now the editor of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue is speaking out.
Kelly, 50, questioned the 23-year-old’s cover after she withdrew from tennis tournaments for her mental health in May. However, the photoshoot was from last year.
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue editor M.J. Day told PEOPLE, “Well, first of all, we did that shoot back in December of 2020.”
She continued, “It’s such bullying and it’s so unnecessary, and this woman did nothing wrong. I’m like, ‘You know what, you’re journalists. How about you do your job and you fact check instead of jumping all over this woman for attention?”
Day also advised the former Fox News host to “direct your vitriol somewhere else.”
In case you missed it, Osaka made history as the first Haitian and Japanese woman on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit.
After a sports commentator whined, “Since saying she’s too introverted to talk to the media after tennis matches, Naomi Osaka has launched a reality show, a Barbie, and now is on the cover of the SI swimsuit issue.”
Kelly tweeted, “Let’s not forget the cover of (& interview in) Vogue Japan and Time Mag!”
She continued, “No press, please … you see, her social anxiety makes it intolerable.”
In a now deleted tweet, Osaka responded with, “Seeing as you’re a journalist I would’ve assumed you would take the time to research what the lead times are for magazines, if you did that you would’ve found out I shot all of my covers last year. Instead your first reaction is to hop on here and spew negativity, do better Megan.”
Osaka then blocked Kelly, which caused the Fox News host to have a hissy fit on Twitter.
Kelly ranted with, “Poor @naomiosaka blocked me while taking a shot at me (guess she’s only tough on the courts). She is apparently arguing that she shot her many covers b/4 publicly claiming she was too socially anxious to deal w/press. Truth is she just doesn’t like Qs she can’t control. Admit it.”
Osaka’s withdrawal from the French Open and later Wimbledon made international news and sparked a needed discussion around mental health in sport.
She posted a message on Instagram, writing, “The best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris.”
She also added, “I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly, I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly.”
Additionally, she withdrew from the Berlin WTA 5000 grass-court tournament and Wimbledon. However, Osaka plans to return to the court for the Olympics, which will take place in Tokyo later this month.