In the midst of the release of the new tell-all book about the goings-on behind the scenes of The View, Ramin Setoodeh details a day during Hot Topics when Elisabeth Hasselbeck got heated in a debate about the morning-after pill for over-the-counter consumption.
As Setoodeh writes in Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of 'The View', Hasselback argued with Barbara Walters and Joy Behar on Aug. 2, 2006 that the pill "is the same thing as birthing a baby and leaving it out in the street" and wouldn't let other co-hosts provide their opposing points of view.
At one point, Walters interrupted her. "Could you stop now?" Walters said. "We have to go on and we have to learn how to discuss these things in some sort of rational way."
When the show cut to commercial, Hasselbeck furiously tore up her notecards and bolted from the table off-camera. Her microphone was still on and picked up her conversations backstage, when she tried to quit the show.
"F— that!" she screamed behind the stage in an audiotape published by Variety. "I'm not going to sit there and get reprimanded on the air. It’s not ok to sit there and get reprimanded on the air."
“Come into my office here,” Behar said.
“What the f—!” Hasselbeck yelled. “I don’t even swear. She has me swearing. This woman is driving me nuts. I’m not going back. I can’t do the show like this. She just reprimanded me, and she knew exactly what she was doing. Good-bye! I’m off. Write about that in the New York f—ing Post!”
After that, she raced down a stairwell into her dressing room, Variety reports.
“Well, that’s ridiculous,” Walters said when she heard Hasselbeck had quit.
With only minutes left before the live show returned on air, executive producer Bill Geddie convinced her to come back to set.
“You have to go on because you’re a pro, so come with me,” Geddie pleaded, as they raced back to the set.
With 15 seconds before the show came back to air, Hasselbeck sat down next to Walters and said, "We'll talk about this."
"This is why we shouldn't have done it, because you are so emotional," Walters scolded.
"But I don't want to be scolded for being emotional," Hasselbeck argued.
"Can you handle this?" Walters said, to which Hasselbeck responded, "Yes."
Back on camera and live TV, the two women sat arm-in-arm, with Hasselbeck giving Walters a mock noogie, and said that they respected each other's opposing opinions.
"Let's have more discussions. We'll be calm and rational and passionate," Walters said as the show closed out.
Although Hasselbeck did not quit the show at that moment, she was unceremoniously fired from her role as co-host, which she detailed in her book, Point of View: A Fresh Look at Work, Faith, and Freedom. She wrote that she was left feeling "shock [and] betrayal" after she was fired by one of the show's producers and an ABC executive without warning.
Another host on The View, Meredith Vieira, who left the show long before Hasselbeck's exit in season 16 in 2013, opened up about it, telling Entertainment Tonight last month that she "didn't know she'd been fired."
She said she "loved working with Elisabeth" and that "I think she was great. I felt like she was a daughter to me."
Vieira, 65, said she often "worried" about Hasselbeck because of the possibility that she was being pigeonholed as a one-dimensional voice of the right thanks to her conservative-leaning political stances.
"I felt that they were trying to make her into the conservative voice and put words in her mouth, and I don't think that's a good place to be," Vieira said. "When you're new in television, sometimes you agree to things you might not otherwise. And when you're trying to find your voice, it's important that, that voice be authentic."0comments
"So, I feel she took a lot of heat for things she might not necessarily have believed in wholeheartedly," she added.
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