Naomi Osaka calls out Megyn Kelly after host criticizes magazine covers

The former NBC host and Fox News star says that the tennis star only wants to respond to questions she can control.

Naomi Osaka has fired back at conservative talk show host Megyn Kelly after she criticized the tennis star’s latest promotional efforts ahead of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. 

Kelly took issue with Osaka’s pre-Olympic media blitz after the 23-year-old withdrew from the French Open and Wimbledon due to mental health struggles that make it challenging for her to speak to the press. 

“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,” conservative radio host Clay Travis tweeted

Megyn Kelly Naomi Osaka
(Credit: Getty images)

Kelly replied with her own shady comment, writing, “Let’s not forget the cover of (& interview in) Vogue Japan and Time Mag!”

Osaka was quick to clap back at Kelly’s post, writing “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 [sic],” she said in a now-deleted tweet, per TheWrap.

She then blocked Kelly on Twitter.

“Poor @naomiosaka blocked me while taking a shot at me (guess she’s only tough on the courts),” Kelly responded, accusing Osaka of refusing to speak to the media at recent sporting events because she can’t control the questions.

“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,” Kelly continued.

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates match point during the second round match between Karolina Muchova of Czech and Naomi Osaka of Japan on day 4 of the Mutua Madrid Open at La Caja Magica on May 02, 2021 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

One of those covers made history this week. Osaka, along with Megan Thee Stallion and Leyna Bloom appeared on the latest Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition covers.

As previously reported by theGrio, all three ladies appeared on the groundbreaking covers, which were revealed on Monday. Megan breaks the mold as the first rapper on the swimsuit cover, Osaka is the first Black female athlete to do it and Bloom is the first trans woman to grace the cover.

MJ Day, editor-in-chief of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, shared in a statement, “We celebrate Naomi for her passion, strength and power geared toward consistently breaking barriers when it comes to equality, social justice, and mental health.”

This is one of numerous covers Osaka has graced in the past few weeks, including her Vogue Hong Kong cover from last week.

Check out all of the SI covers here.

Last week, Mattel announced that the tennis champ has been immortalized as a Barbie doll.

An earlier report noted that the doll is part of the Barbie Role Model collection, which launched in 2015. Previous honorees have included pioneering Olympics fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, gymnast Gabby Douglasblack-ish and Grown-ish star Yara Shahidi, historic NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, and ballet dancer Misty Copeland.

Osaka will go into this summer’s Olympic Games ranked second in women’s tennis singles by the World Tennis Association, and once held the top spot back in January 2018.

She was targeted with racial backlash for her decision to represent Japan in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, per theGrio.

Osaka discussed the ensuing backlash in her recently released self-titled Netflix docuseries, where she said some critics told her that her ‘Black card’ was revoked.

This story contains additional reporting by Jared Alexander and Biba Adams

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!

TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!