Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka has hit back at Megyn Kelly after the former Fox News star for criticized her for appearing in a Sports Illustrated cover after dropping out of the French Open due to media pressure.
The Japanese-Haitian four-time Grand Slam winner is the first female black athlete to star on the cover of the swimsuit edition.
She is one of three women featured – the others being Megan Thee Stallion, the first rapper to feature, and Leyna Bloom, the first transgender cover model.
Yet Osaka’s cover came after she pulled out of both the French Open and Wimbledon, citing efforts to protect her mental health. Osaka previously revealed that she has suffered from depression since 2018.
Osaka, 23, unveiled her Sports Illustrated cover, but was mocked by conservative commentators.
Clay Travis messaged: ‘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.’
And Megyn Kelly weighed in, retweeting Travis and addinging: ‘Let’s not forget the cover of (& interview in) Vogue Japan and Time Mag!’
MJ Day, the magazine’s swimsuit edition editor-in-chief, said: ‘There’s no question that Naomi is one of the best athletes in the world, and a cover spot felt obvious. She’s spent her formative years racking up titles and is headed to the Olympics. But we celebrate Naomi for her passion, strength and power geared towards consistently breaking barriers when it comes to equality, social justice, and mental health.’
Naomi Osaka, 23, has become the first female black athlete to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition
But Osaka, who will be at the Tokyo Olympics representing Japan hit back, blasting: ‘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.’
The world number two then blocked Kelly on the social media app.
MJ Day, the swimsuit edition’s editor-in-chief, had previously hailed the decision to have Osaka on the cover, writing: ‘There’s no question that Naomi is one of the best athletes in the world, and a cover spot felt obvious.
‘She’s spent her formative years racking up titles and is headed to the Olympics.
‘But we celebrate Naomi for her passion, strength and power geared towards consistently breaking barriers when it comes to equality, social justice, and mental health.’
Osaka, the first Asian to reach world number one, appears on the cover of the August edition of Japanese Vogue
Osaka has become well known for speaking out about mental health issues, and withdrew from the French Open in May, arguing that it was not good for her state of mind
Osaka is seen promoting her Barbie doll – a doll which immediately sold out online
Megyn Kelly was not convinced by Osaka’s response.
‘Poor @naomiosaka blocked me while taking a shot at me (guess she’s only tough on the courts),’ Kelly responded.
‘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.’
Piers Morgan, editor-at-large of DailyMail.com, agreed with Kelly, tweeting: ‘Yep, and she just blocked me too.
‘The only media Ms Osaka wants to tolerate are sycophantic magazine editors telling her how perfect she is.’
Tennis legend and former world number one Martina Navratilova weighed in to defend Osaka, telling Kelly: ‘A****** much , Megyn?!? You have no idea what you are talking about.
‘But go ahead- take your shot. It missed badly!!!’
Kelly replied: ‘Actually, being an “a******,” as you so elegantly put it, is calling for “riots everywhere” as you did after G Floyd died – while you sat in one of your mansions in zero danger. 19 ppl died in said riots – incldg David Dorn. Now you want to pretend u care about others? Please.’