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Megyn Kelly Essentially, also known as “Euphemism Megyn Kelly”, is an advice animal image macro series featuring a photo of Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly captioned with dismissive statements trivializing acts of violent crime and human rights violations.
On November 21st, 2011, Megyn Kelly appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News talk show The O’Reilly Factor to discuss the pepper spray incident that unfolded during an Occupy protest at the University of California Davis. In discussing the medical effects of pepper spray, Kelly described the volatile substance as a “food product.” Shortly after it aired, a YouTube version of the interview was shared on Gawker.
Bill O’Reilly: “First of all, pepper spray -- that just burns your eyes, right?”
Megyn Kelly: “It’s like a derivative of actual pepper. It’s a food product, essentially.”
Bill O’Reilly went on to defend the officer saying, “I don’t think we have the right to Monday-morning quarterback the police. Particularly at a place like UC Davis, which is a fairly liberal campus.”
The first image macro created from Kelly’s appearance was posted to Reddit on November 22nd, 2011 and was captioned with “Pepper spray? / it’s a food product, essentially.”
On November 22nd, 2011, the original video was reshared on BuzzFeed, The Daily What and The Examiner. The same day, a petition for Kelly to “drink a full dose of pepper spray on national televsion” was submitted to Change.org by Slacktory editor Nick Douglas. Also on November 22nd, Redditor Gigged submitted a post titled “Why I’m Not Upvoting Every Megyn Kelly Meme Today”, which included a photograph of Kelly wearing a black dress with the caption “Essentially, I just want to see her tits / and they are using the wrong goddamn picture” (shown below).
On the following day, compilations of Megyn Kelly image macros were shared on the Internet humor sites Geekosystem, Uproxx and BuzzFeed. The series was also covered by New York radio station WNYC and the Bigster. Additional instances have been posted to Tumblr and the /r/AdviceAnimals subreddit. As of September 18th, 2012, a Quickmeme page for “Megyn Kelly” has accumulated over 1600 submissions and a Facebook page for “If Megyn Kelly thinks pepperspray is food she should eat it” has over 110 likes.
Many of the image macros featured captions dismissing dangerous and violent circumstances as being benign.
Search query volume for “megyn kelly essentially” increased significally in November of 2011, the same month the first image macros were created.