Though it was developed as a platform for women’s voices to be heard, The View has often been characterized by its on-air tensions, which often carried over behind the scenes. Here are some of the biggest secrets and scandals in the history of The View.
Begging For Barbara
Barbara Walters was both the brain behind The View and the backbone of the show. However, since her retirement in 2014, the show has become a near train wreck, with producers on the verge of begging her to return as co-host.
Their Backs To Bill
In 2010, the ladies of The View interviewed Bill O’Reilly, the controversial, conservative talk show host. It was no surprise that he managed to rile up both Joy Behar and Whoopie Goldberg who became so angry with him, they stood up and walked out mid-interview. What was more surprising is that the ever-professional Barbara Walters was visibly angry with them for doing so, going so far as to say on air, “That is NOT supposed to happen!”
When Barbara Walters hired Rosie O’Donnell as a new moderator in 2006, she was looking for someone with star power, and O’Donnell certainly had the resume for it. Though she did achieve Walters’s goal of boosting ratings, behind the scenes, working with Rosie was a nightmare. Walters wrote working with her was “like a roller-coaster ride or a bumpy trip on a fast-moving bus,” and everyone recalled Rosie often screaming at staff members with such ferocity that many would never work with her again.
Whoopie Backs Cosby
Following the allegations against Bill Cosby by over 50 women in 2014, Whoopie Goldberg came under fire for refusing to take a stand against him until more information was released. Though Whoopie received the bulk of the criticism for her statements, it was only Rosie O’Donnell who had taken a harsh stand against Cosby. The remaining co-hosts had echoed Whoopie’s sentiments, asking to withhold judgement until more information had come to light. The public, however, conveniently ignored the other ladies.
Outraged By Elisabeth
Elisabeth Hasselbeck had her fair share of controversial moments during her run on the show, but it took a good three seasons before they started rolling in. In 2006, she first started turning heads when she got into and argument with her co-hosts about the morality of the morning after pill. A vocal Christian, Hasselbeck was deeply upset by the idea, and when the show returned from commercial, Hasselbeck was seen being comforted by Barbara Walters on air.
Star Jones’s Big Secret
In 2003, original co-host, Star Jones revealed her dramatic weight loss, but asked the ladies to keep her method secret, which lead to her insisting for years that she lost weight due to portion control and pilates. Though Barbara Walters honored her wishes, she was upset with Jones for not being honest, saying that it turned viewers off. Four years after the fact, Jones finally came clean about having gastric bypass surgery to lose weight, which prompted Walters to publicize her disappointment with Jones.
The View came under fire in 2015 when both Joy Behar and Michelle Collins made fun of Miss America contestant, Kelley Johnson, for appearing in scrubs and wearing a stethoscope while she discussed being a nurse. The ladies ridiculed her for the stethoscope, and called her speech “hilarious”. There was immediate social media backlash that ensued, and caused a number of advertisers to pull their sponsorship from the show. Though the ladies apologized, their sincerity was questioned, and Collins never quite recovered from the gaffe.
Phasing Out Perez
Rosie Perez was hired in the midst of The View’s big shake up following Barbara Walters’s departure from the show, a decision producers began to regret almost immediately, as Perez wasn’t bringing enough personality to the table. When she took a hiatus to appear on Broadway, they wanted to use it to phase her out, but as rumors of her departure swirled, the show began to feel push back from the Latino community. When O’Donnell found out Perez would be staying, she reportedly had another fit.
Star’s Kick Backs
Prior to her 2006 departure, Star Jones was continuously discussing her wedding plans on air, often specifically naming the vendors she was using for everything from her invitation, to dress designers, and even airlines. It was discovered that there was more to her constant plugs than just wedding excitement. Jones had managed to seal a deal to get free access to goods and services for her wedding in exchange for the free product placement she was doing on the show, causing the producers to take action.
Walters Under Fire
Though Barbara Walters was the glue that held The View together, often being the only host to manage to remain calm, even during the most heated arguments, she wasn’t immune from controversy. When Dylan Farrow penned an open letter that revealed Woody Allen’s misconduct for her, Walters defended Allen. She kept insisting that she knew Allen and the family, and that he seemed incapable of committing such an act against his children. She drew the ire of both her co-hosts and the public for her statements.
Collins Gets Canned
Comedienne Michelle Collins was hired for the 2015-2016 season after she did well in guest hosting slots. Collins’s humor, however, seemed to cause her more harm than good after she began to make a couple of controversial jokes that didn’t sit well with the audience. It started with her ridicule of Kelley Jones, but didn’t end there. By the beginning of 2016, the producers began phasing her out of the line up, before firing her prior to the end of the season. Her termination was “effective immediately.”
Almost Getting Physical
Stories about O’Donnell just keep rolling in. During her return season on The View, Rosie seemed to get more hostile as time went on, until things finally blew up backstage as well. Following yet another contentious staff meeting, Rosie was seen to be continuing an argument with producer, Jennifer Shepard-Brookman, with whom she’d often clashed, but the argument eventually escalated until the two women had to be physically separated by other staff members who worried the pair might come to blows.
Raven Defends Racism
Former child star Raven Symoné managed to garner her fair share of controversy during her one season on The View. In one notable incident, the ladies were discussing an inappropriate comment made by former Univision host, Rodner Figuero, where he compared Michelle Obama to a Planet of the Apes character. Symoné’s response was odd, saying “Some people look like animals. I look like a bird. So can I be mad if somebody calls me a Toucan Sam?”
Whoopie Goldberg has more than proved herself as moderator since she was added to the line up a decade ago, but that doesn’t mean that the opinionated comedienne hasn’t gotten into her fair share of arguments with cohosts. Perez Hilton reported in 2016 that Christian co-host, Paula Faris, went “ballistic” when she found out her air time was being cut due to unpopularity, going so far as to scream at producers. Even more though, she blamed the cuts on Whoopie, despite clear evidence that the audience disliked her.
Giving A Bad Name
The View has been beset by turmoil since Barbara Walters departed the show in 2014, both on screen and off. Anonymous staff members reported that even the producers didn’t know what to do with the show without her, and the on-screen difficulties were largely a result of poor management by Barbara Fedida. Fedida had taken over the show by 2016, but each of her decisions seemed to drive the show further into a hole, causing other ABC execs to cry for Walters’s return.
Star Spills The Beans
After the revelation that Star Jones was receiving kick backs in exchange for all of her wedding publicity, Barbara Walters and her right hand man, executive producer Bill Geddie, decided not to renew her contract for the next season. The pair would allow Jones to leave “on her own terms”, but agreed on when she would make the announcement on air. Star, however, had plans of her own, and jumped the gun, announcing her departure two days early.
Best Seat In The House
When Rosie O’Donnell agreed to return to The View in 2014, her contract apparently stipulated that she was to be placed in the “best office,” which to O’Donnell’s dismay, was the office that Whoopie Goldberg had been using. O’Donnell claimed that since Whoopie’s contract had no such stipulation, she was therefore entitled to the better office, but Whoopie was not going to give up so easily. Eventually, O’Donnell let it slide, but that was just the beginning of their contention.
Elisabeth’s Free Speech
Elisabeth Hasselbeck had a knack for stirring up controversy during her decade at the table. One of her more surprising statements among the many that she made had to do with defending the use of the n-word, which lead to cohosts Sherri Shepherd and Whoopie Goldberg berating her. Shepherd told Hasselbeck, “It’s something that means something way different to me than it does to you.” Hasselbeck was in tears by the time they reached the end of the conversation.
Outrage At Osbourne
During a guest appearance, Kelly Osbourne sparked outrage when an attempt to call out Donald Trump backfired. She said about his supposed policies, “If you kick every Latino out of this country, then who is going to be cleaning your toilet, Donald Trump?” Latina host, Rosie Perez was deeply upset by the insinuation, causing Kelly to try and backtrack, but she only dug herself in deeper. Though she issued an apology on her Facebook page, it did little to better the situation.
Sherri Has A Spare
Sherri Shepherd wasn’t one of the more explosive co-hosts during her time on The View, but she did make several comments that left people scratching their heads. In one of her later guest appearances, she made a joke to Raven-Symoné that she had a “baby or two to spare” despite that fact that she had very recently abandoned her surrogate mid-pregnancy when her marriage fell apart. Shepherd had to be forced by a judge to be named the baby’s legal mother.
Candace Steps In
The View has always liked at least one of its co-hosts to be blonde and one conservative. For 2015-2016, they brought in Candace Cameron Bure, who filled Hasselbeck’s long abandoned shoes perfectly. Among her biggest blowouts on The View was when she got into it with cohost Raven-Symoné regarding the Oregon bakery that refused to make a wedding cake for a religious couple. Bure argued that it wasn’t discrimination, which set off Symoné who identified herself as a lesbian while on the show.
Whoopie Vs. Rosie
Moderator Whoopie Goldberg and Rosie O’Donnell have gotten into more than one off screen spat while the two ladies were cohosting together on The View. O’Donnell reportedly threw a massive tantrum after finding out that guest Beverly Johnson had requested that on Whoopie interview her regarding the allegations she had made against Bill Cosby. Even worse, the tantrum had occurred during a conference call with two producers, but somehow the press had caught wind, which she just used as fuel for more misbehavior.
Pressure On Perez
As Rosie Perez seemed to be shirking from the spotlight during The View’s daily tapings, producers were constantly whispering about her to one another. There was talk among them that she seemed to be correcting herself on air too frequently, which never looks good to an audience. The source who reported the producers’ unhappiness her also recalled them saying that Perez was “not the sharpest tool in the shed.” Unfortunately, their treatment of her leaked to the press, pissing off both viewers and O’Donnell.
The executives at ABC had ample warning that Barbara Walters was set to retire from the show that was, and to an extent still is, her baby. One producer shared, “I think people’s attitude was: How hard could it be to run this show?” They had no idea how wrong they were. While some wanted the place blame for the ailing show on not wanting to upset Barbara by making changes while she was still there, producers who have since left said the turmoil was “simple incompetence.”
Biting The Hand
Though producers were initially impressed by Rosie O’Donnell’s instincts, her nasty attitude made her a tough pill to swallow. It was her on-air comments that sealed her fate, however. In March 2007, Rosie upset ABC while commenting on the propaganda of the War on Terror. She said: “In America, we are fed propaganda and if you want to know what’s happening in the world, go outside of the U.S. media because it’s owned by four corporations. One of them is this one.” Rosie was referring to Disney/ABC.
Goldberg Fights Back
While Whoopie and Rosie often got into heated debates onscreen, their animosity spilled over into their off-screen relationship as well. Just two weeks into Rosie’s return to the table, the ladies got into a shouting match during a commercial, where Rosie whined that Whoopie “hurt her feelings” by cutting her off. Whoopie had a reasonable explanation, but Rosie wouldn’t listen. Whoopie finally had enough, and cursed Rosie out over the mic, while the stunned audience sat and watched.
For as much as she was known as the loudmouthed liberal, Joy Behar kept her on-screen arguments mostly on-screen. However, when she finally left the show, she revealed in an interview that Barbara Walters had in fact fired her once before. Behar had accidentally told the press that O’Donnell would be joining the show, something Walters had kept secret. Walters didn’t want to hear that it was a mistake, despite Behar’s profuse apologies. Somehow, Behar managed to smooth her over.
Going Split Screen
It’s perhaps one of the most well known blowouts The View has ever had on air. Bill Geddie still titles it a “dark day for The View” over a decade later. He’s referring to the epic screaming match that took place between Rosie O’Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck in 2007 when Rosie accused Elisabeth of not defending her comments about American soldiers in Iraq, who she’d previously likened to terrorists. Hasselbeck screeched that she should “defend her own insinuations.” Rosie didn’t return again until 2014.
Star’s Little Leak
Walters could be ruthless when it came to firing people who didn’t live up to her standards. Though she allowed Star to appear to be leaving the show on her own terms, Star took the story to People, announcing that Walters hadn’t renewed her contract. Walters was furious and refused to let Star appear on the show for the last two weeks of her contract, telling the shocked audience that Jones had “blindsided” her. The two women didn’t speak for almost six years.
Rosie O’Donnell’s run on The View had been nothing but drama for the struggling show. Her consistent dissatisfaction that was visible on air caused stress for her and those she worked with. Producers were therefore relieved when she abruptly left the show, without even making it through a full second season. In one go, O’Donnell announced during a broadcast in mid-February 2015 that she was both done with The View and divorcing her wife of two years. No one on set was sad to see her go.