Bombshell, the new movie about sexual harassment at Fox News under former CEO Roger Ailes, has snared two Golden Globe nominations.
One went to Charlize Theron for best performance by an actress in a motion picture drama for morphing into former Fox News host Megyn Kelly.
In the film Kelly comes across as a role model for working women by standing up to Donald Trump and Ailes.
Theron might even win an Oscar for recasting Kelly from being a secondhand dealer of right-wing ideas into a far more sympathetic character.
As I watched Bombshell, however, I couldn't shake the memory of an especially troubling and sycophantic interview that Kelly conducted with billionaire Charles Koch in 2015. This wasn't depicted in the film.
Koch and his recently deceased brother, David, are well known for funding a galaxy of free-market think tanks.
Greenpeace has previously reported that between 1997 and 2010, the brothers invested nearly $80 million into groups that have downplayed the impact of human activity on the climate. By 2017, that figure had risen to $127 million.
But this wasn't the focus of Kelly's interview. She wanted to hear about Koch's success and the moral values that drive him.
The Koch brothers are also notorious for pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the campaigns of Republican candidates—something that did come up in the interview.
All of this was well known a year before Kelly's interview, thanks to a lengthy exposé in Rolling Stone.
The magazine chronicled a litany of environmental problems associated with the family-owned Koch Industries. It also outlined the extent of company's involvement in fossil fuels, which included control at that time over at least four refineries and 4,000 miles of pipeline.
In addition, Koch Industries was responsible for 24 million megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year, according to Rolling Stone.
"From the fossil fuels it refined, Koch also produces billions of pounds of petrochemicals, which, in turn, become the feedstock for other Koch businesses," wrote Tim Dickinson. "In a journey across Koch Industries, what enters as a barrel of West Texas Intermediate can exit as a Stainmaster carpet."
When Kelly sat down with Charles Koch, she dished up a series of softball questions that brought a smile to his face.
He didn't have to answer serious inquiries about his role in helping to forestall action to avert a climate crisis.
In one astonishing claim that went unchallenged, Koch declared: "I've never been that fond of politics and only got into it recently kicking and screaming."
New Yorker writer Jane Mayer documented in her book, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, that Koch, a former John Birch Society fundraiser, actually planned to remake U.S. politics 40 years ago.
He accomplished this by creating a parallel financial structure to the Republican National Committee.
Kock also claimed to Kelly that he opposes all government subsidies. This statement was made even though his company lobbied in the past to retain subsidies for the oil industry, according to a media watchdog group.
In 2017, Kelly reportedly signed a three-year $69-million contract with NBC after leaving Fox News. But the relationship came to an end in January, not long after she defended Halloween costumes that incorporate blackface.
She also called for an outside investigation into sexual harassment at NBC in the wake of the Matt Lauer scandal, which was also linked in media reports to her firing.
In October, Kelly gave her first televised interview to Tucker Carlson of Fox News after her dismissal from NBC.
She pointed out to Carlson that Fox News, CBS, NPR, and the NFL all retained outside investigators when they were facing abuse allegations.
In this regard, she came across as an advocate for truth and justice, mirroring how she was depicted in Bombshell.
But late in the interview, she made a comment that should raise a red flag for progressives across North America.
It came when she was discussing how her colleagues in the mainstream media don't seem particularly interested in people living in the "flyover states".
"I think most people, for example, take a look at the guy in Washington state who wouldn't bake a cake for the gay couple [it was actually a florist not supplying flowers] and they just think 'bigot, bigot'," Kelly said. "The problem is it's so much more complicated than that. Right?"
Carlson, a loyal foot soldier on the right, agreed with her.
Charlize Theron's portrayal of Kelly makes her appear to many moviegoers as a champion of equal rights.
In Bombshell, Kelly certainly doesn't come across as a shill for Charles Koch or as someone who sees a lot of grey in a situation that many urban dwellers would view as flat-out discrimination.
But to borrow a phrase from Kelly, the reality—as opposed to the on-screen version—is so much more complicated than that.