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Trump talk gets Megyn Kelly booed in Hollywood

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 8/12/2016 Andrea Mandell

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The annual Hollywood Reporter Women in Entertainment breakfast was a love-fest.

Until Donald Trump's name came up, that is.

On Wednesday morning, Megyn Kelly gave opening remarks at the annual affair, and had kind things to say about Michelle Obama ("who set the example for us all in standing up for her convictions") and Hillary Clinton ("who broke a barrier no one has ever done in America") and Melania Trump ("who was slut-shamed...but she held her head high").

Kelly also made reference to Roger Ailes, commending her female colleagues at Fox News who "at great risk to their livelihoods brought down a very powerful, serial sexual harasser."

But then Kelly transitioned to the president-elect. "I have high hopes for him. Despite the tweets and all the rest of it there is much to admire about Donald Trump," she began.

Megyn Kelly speaks onstage during The Hollywood Reporter's Annual Women in Entertainment Breakfast. © Kevin Winter, Getty Images Megyn Kelly speaks onstage during The Hollywood Reporter's Annual Women in Entertainment Breakfast. "Boo!" rang out a few scattered voices at the seated affair, followed by Kathy Griffin raising her middle finger in the air. "There is. Stop that," chided Kelly, before she spotted Griffin and followed up with a joke. 

The Fox News anchor pressed on: "There is much to admire about him, and I think the more we understand that and understand why he won this election, the better off we'll be as a country and understand each other," she said.

Tina Fey, who received the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award (and was introduced by Jon Hamm), later started her speech on a wry note. "What an amazing year it's been for women," Fey said, before buckling over the podium and laughing wildly. "How we can proceed in dignity in this increasingly ugly, misogynistic time?" she asked.

Look to Lansing, the former CEO of Paramount (and the first woman to head a Hollywood studio), she suggested. "You know Sherry Lansing has witnessed some nonsense and some behavior that the young people today would call 'triggering,'" Fey said. "And yet she was able to flourish with all of her humanity intact ... Maybe that's the mantra we can all take with us over the next four years."

Ryan Murphy, accepting the inaugural Equity in Entertainment award, spoke of realizing he was part of the inequality problem haunting Hollywood.

Murphy made an admission about the acclaimed, image-restoring Marcia, Marcia, Marcia episode of The People v. O.J. Simpson. Murphy said he'd been determined to have a woman direct it. But when the female director he hired had a medical emergency two weeks before production, he stepped in rather than finding a woman replacement.

"I felt I had failed," he told the crowd. "I have always had female directors on my shows, but why here didn’t I feel I had a roster of women around me who I could turn this important episode over to? Why weren’t these women on speed-dial? Why did I make the choice that was easier for me, but not for the material, or the world in general?"

In response, in February Murphy launched Half Foundation, which aims to put women, people of color and the LGBTQ community in 50% of directing jobs on all his series. In just 10 months of his program, he's already made good on giving 60% of his directing jobs to women.

"What I've learned is if you have power and you want to bring positive change, everyone will conspire to help you do that," Murphy said. "But you have to speak up."

Emma Stone and Olympic medalist Simone Biles were also on hand to present college scholarship awards to young recipients of THR's Women in Entertainment Mentoring Program, which matches at-risk teens with female Hollywood executive mentors.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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