Ashley Bianco, the staffer fired at CBS News after a determination she accessed ABC News footage while employed there that was later leaked, gave an exclusive interview to Megyn Kelly, saying she “never” leaked the clip to Project Veritas or anyone else.
The full interview is hosted on Kelly’s brand-new Instagram and her YouTube account. In it, Bianco says she accessed the clip but never distributed it or intended to hurt ABC News.
Project Veritas, the right-wing activist group that has tried to conduct previous sting operations to expose journalistic bias, released a video Tuesday of ABC News’ Amy Robach saying she was “disappointed” that her 2015 story on Jeffrey Epstein didn’t run.
Thursday, Bianco was fired from CBS News for her connection to the leak. In the Friday clip, Bianco told Kelly, “They released the video, you know, and I was shocked but I didn’t think anything of it.”
“I begged. I pleaded. I didn’t know what I had done wrong and I just, you know, I didn’t — I wasn’t even given the professional courtesy to defend myself. You know, I didn’t even know what I was accused of,” she said of her firing at CBS News. Kelly’s tweet of that moment identified her as “former ABC staffer who allegedly leaked the hot mic Amy Robach tape,” though Bianco denied that in the longer interview.
CBS News has not responded to multiple requests for comment on her termination.
“Everyone in the office was freaked out by what she was saying and everyone was watching it,” she explained, noting others at ABC News were seeing the moment as it happened in August. She said she was told Robach knew she was on a hot mic. It wasn’t unusual for her to clip moments of anchors in the internal system, she said, but she never looked at that one again.
Project Veritas’ founder James O’Keefe tweeted the clip Tuesday, captioning it, “BREAKING: @abcnews anchor @arobach caught on ‘hot mic’ in August disgustedly exposing networks decision to strategically spike bombshell investigation into Jeffrey Esptein over THREE YEARS AGO. Says what she had was ‘unbelievable.'”
Kelly teased the Bianco interview Thursday when she tweeted, “I just joined Instagram – have a feeling you’ll be interested in my first post – coming Friday morning. Pls follow me there at: @therealmegynkelly. Have some news coming your way…”
Friday morning, she followed that up: “Just wrapped interview that’s airing on my YouTube channel and on IGTV – follow me there at my new handle @megynkelly.”
(She promoted two different handles in the tweets, but the correct one is @megynkelly.)
One year after her abrupt ouster as host of the third hour of “Today” over comments about Halloween and blackface, NBC’s ratings in her old time slot still haven’t recovered.
She spent that year almost entirely silent, drawing no attention to herself. In October, Kelly gave her first on-air interview since leaving NBC last year to Fox News, where she called for an outside investigation into NBC’s handling of sexual assault allegations made against former host Matt Lauer, to determine what executives were aware of beforehand.
When goaded on Twitter for her reemergence, Kelly said, “Yes, I could just sit back and ‘enjoy my money,’ … but instead I’ve chosen to speak up for women being harassed and abused who have been muzzled by NDAs. Sorry you find that so annoying.”