If you’ve seen more than five minutes of The View, you know things can get ~a little~ heated between the ladies (and occasionally men) at the table. Hey, that’s what happens when you get a bunch of strong, opinionated people together with opposing view points—that’s the point of the show. It’s not always easy to pick up and move on, though and one disagreement in 2006 got so heated, former host Elisabeth Hasselbeck quit during a commercial break.
Variety writer Ramin Setoodeh shared the story in his new book Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of “The View” and it is juicy.
The incident occurred immediately after a segment where Hasselbeck, Barbara Walters and Joy Behar were discussing an FDA proposal to allow the morning-after pill to be sold over-the-counter (throwback!). Hasselbeck’s view that Plan B is “the same thing as birthing a baby and leaving it out in the street” was strongly contested by the other hosts, but Hasselbeck was getting visibly heated and wasn’t interested in hearing opposing viewpoints. Eventually, Walters had to cut off the conversation.
“Could you stop now?” she said. “We have to go on and we have to learn how to discuss these things in some sort of rational way.”
That was drama enough, but the real messiness went down during the commercial break. And there’s (explicit) audio!
Hasselbeck shouted that she wouldn’t “sit there and be reprimanded on the air” and told Behar that she couldn’t “go back out there.” Behar was understanding but Hasselbeck was furious with Walters.
“I don’t even swear and she has me swearing,” she said. “This woman is driving me nuts.”
And with that, she quit the show. When Walters heard the news, her response was the most savage thing imaginable: “Well, that’s ridiculous.”
Eventually, producer Bill Geddie got Hasselbeck to return to the show 30 seconds (!) before the end of the commercial break and the tension is palpable. When the show returned, Barbara and Elisabeth shared a sweet-if-forced hug and Walters explained the importance of having compassionate discussions with people who hold opposing view points.
Hasselbeck, who eventually left the show for good in 2013, responded to the release of the audio in a lengthy Instagram post. She apologized for using “big battle words” and wrote a lot about how her Christian beliefs influenced her passionate outburst that day, adding that she’s since learned how to listen to opposing views with more compassion.
“I still hold all my Constitutionally protected rights to freedom of faith : but now: I can hold the hand of the person who does not agree at the same time,” she wrote.
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This. Just. In: I am quite humanly reactive. I used bad words when frustrated. I was pregnant with Taylor and a big conversation about the value and the lives of the unborn took place at the View. It was a battle -but not of the flesh. I used fighting words because I believe that God decides the value of the lives of babies. We care for a group of Robin’s eggs in a nest before they are hatched and likely would think twice before stomping on the awesome blue shells because we know what God placed inside the hard womb. And in the heat of the moment, when I felt the need to protect what I knew to be truth and had seen with my own eyes on ultrasound the LIFE in my own shell of a body- I used big battle words (one in particular that I am not proud of and am sorry for using in the heat of trying to defend the lives of the unborn). 2 things I have grown to learn: 1) there are words that DISTRACT from your point: Choose wisely 2) I have a God who fights the battle. I don’t have to do that all on my own. God has changed my ways. He has given me a new thing – it is my heart. He literally did that and I wrote a lot about it in #PointOfViewBook and I boast of plenty of failure and imperfection there. I still hold all my Constitutionally protected rights to freedom of faith : but now: I can hold the hand of the person who does not agree at the same time 💕💕💕💕 because I believe that we can do that by His grace. hold truth and hold grace as best we can. BY HIS POWER. In my weakness I am made strong. My new word that begins with the letter F: FAITHFUL Because that is who GOD IS