‘It’s such bullying’: Sports Illustrated swimsuit editor criticises Megyn Kelly for tweet about Naomi Osaka

A Sports Illustrated editor has condemned Megyn Kelly for her disparaging comments about Naomi Osaka, labelling them “bullying”.

Ms Kelly and conservative pundit Clay Travis took to Twitter to hit out at Ms Osaka when her Sports Illustrated cover hit newsstands shortly after she tried to change the dynamic between sports news journalists and players.

Mr Travis wrote: “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.”

Responding to his tweet, Ms Kelly added: “Let’s not forget the cover of (& interview in) Vogue Japan and Time Mag!”

In reaction this, in a since deleted tweet, Ms Osaka tweeted, “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,” she continued. According to Ms Kelly, Ms Osaka then proceeded to block the former Fox News host on the site, a move that Ms Kelly later posted about.

“Blocked me while taking a shot at me. 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,” she wrote with a screenshot attached.

M.J Day, from the annual swimsuit issue, later appeared on the podcast People Every Day to defend her cover star, telling host Janine Rubenstein that Ms Kelly was attacking a woman who “did nothing wrong”.

“It’s such bullying, and it’s so unnecessary,” Ms Day said on the podcast. “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?'”

Ms Osaka hit the headlines after refusing to do post-match press conferences because she said they were detrimental to her mental health. Ms Osaka received a $15,000 fine for her decision, removed herself from the French Open and opted not to compete at Wimbledon this month. In a recent essay for Time magazine, she outlined her belief that the press conference format was archaic and needed to be rethought.

Ms Day said that Ms Kelly was “part of the problem” with public discussions about mental health.

She went on say, “How about we do our due diligence and make sure we know what the reality of a situation before we come for people?”

Ms Day continued. “It broke my heart to see someone who is really living her life for the betterment of others while also trying to pursue her own passion, which is tennis and fashion.”

“Let her live. Let her make decisions for herself that protect her own well-being,” she told the podcast. “It’s at no cost to anyone.”

The Independent reached out to Megyn Kelly for comment via her media company The Devil May Care.

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