It hasn't always been a pretty view, but it's certainly been memorable over the years on ABC's daytime gabfest, "The View." Today's episode marks the 20th anniversary since the premiere of the groundbreaking format, developed by Barbara Walters. It was the first show to bring disparate women together to discuss the issues of the day with nary a man to be found. It found immediate success, and perhaps just as quickly began to generate controversy and explosive moments.
With its unscripted and free-flowing format, it's perhaps inevitable that debates will get heated, emotions will run high and people will get genuinely angry. But who would have expected that co-hosts would quit over things said on the air, and even walk off the stage during a segment in disgust. All of this has happened on "The View," and the Trump administration is providing plenty of fodder to keep the (mostly) civilized arguments coming.
Over a span of 20 seasons and with 20 different "permanent" co-hosts in that time, "The View" has generated countless fights over its thousands of episodes. But some of them have had a lasting impact on the show, its co-hosts and even the culture in America and on television. From the unexpected departure of a founding co-host live on-air to a split-screen disaster that drove another one from the show, these are thirteen of the show's most explosive moments of the past two decades
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Star Jones Quits Live On-Air
In a move that surprised everyone, including her co-hosts, Star Jones announced at the top of the show one day in 2006 that she would not be back for its tenth season. She implied that this was her choice, but there have been reports that it had to do with her being disingenuous about having gastric bypass surgery. Walters' body language in her farewell speech spoke volumes about how she felt about being blindsided like this, and she gave a more direct reason for Jones' departure the next day, revealing that the network had intended to drop her anyway.
In Defense of Our Friends
Look, these women are famous people with famous friends, and so you have to expect some loyalty. But it doesn't always go over well, as when Walters defended her dear friend Woody Allen over allegations made by daughter Dylan Farrow of sexual misconduct when she was young. Sherri Shepherd and the other co-hosts called her to task, but Walters is not the only one to have done this. At different times, moderator Whoopi Goldberg has defended her friends Mel Gibson and Bill Cosby over their scandals, to the scrutiny of her co-hosts.
Republicans Are Pro-Black
The controversial conservative pundit claimed that the OJ Simpson trial allowed whites to close the white guilt bank, and further claimed liberals were using the label of civil rights to promote their own views. Ann Coulter tried to argue that Republicans were more black friendly -- and always have been -- than Democrats, which didn't go over very well with most of the panel and had Goldberg taking issue with her claiming an understanding of the black experience.
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When Gay Marriage Is Not a Marriage
Goldberg posited that the government really shouldn't be interfering so much in people's lives in regards to both abortion and gay marriage. Sherri Shepherd and Elisabeth Hasselbeck both took the stance that a civil union could offer all the same rights as a marriage to gay couples without giving them that work, but Goldberg can't understand why they can't have it.
Whoopi & Kate Custody Debate
Former reality and temporary co-host star Kate Gosselin talked about a time she violated her custody arrangement with husband Jon by going to his house where she saw a babysitter she didn't approve of. The babysitter issue notwithstanding, Goldberg immediately took her to task for the fact that she violated her custody agreement, and in doing so put herself at risk of going to jail and then where would her children be?
What's in a Name?
Sometimes it's the guests who get the last word. Coulter is always ripe for controversy with basically everything she writes, says, or does. But during one appearance, it was Coulter who managed to silence one of the panelists with a single phrase. Raven-Symone had recently stirred up things herself by making the comment that she would never hire someone with a "ghetto"-sounding name. Symone battled into the conversation only to get shut down immediately. Turns out Coulter did her homework.
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The N-Word Is Not for Everyone
After Reverend Jesse Jackson got caught using the n-word, Hasselbeck argued that the word should be considered taboo for anyone to use. It's a controversial topic still in the country today, and it was no different on the panel with both Goldberg and Shepherd arguing that their use of the word was completely different than a white person using it. They said that they've taken control of the word in the black culture, and pushed that blacks and whites live in different worlds. Her counter was that we can't come together in the same world with this divide.
Co-host Kelley Johnson made fun of a Miss America contestant who came out for the talent portion of the competition in her scrubs with a stethoscope to perform a monologue about her job as a nurse, or "read her emails," as Johnson put it. Joy Behar then asked why she was wearing a doctor's stethoscope, which opened up a torrent of controversy. The show lost sponsorships in the medical field over their comments and made several public apologies. In response, the profession created the hashtag #NursesUnite to stand up and say this wasn't okay.
Bake Me No Wedding Cake
After a bakery refused to bake a cake for a lesbian wedding, Candace Cameron-Bure argued that this was a first amendment right of theirs, while Symone compared it to discrimination faced by African-Americans over the decades in this country. Things got heated between the women, with Symone at one time even saying she didn't want to associate with Bure.
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Bill O'Reilly Causes a Walkout
In a surprising moment, Bill O'Reilly managed to rile up Goldberg and Joy Behar so much during an appearance in 2010 that both women walked off the stage during the broadcast. O'Reilly was making very broad statements suggesting that Muslims were behind the 9/11 terrorist attack, in response to the opening of the New Multi Faith Center that was opened near Ground Zero in New York. The women took issue with his lumping of an entire faith into the actions of a few extremists. Walters was displeased by their behavior, and O'Reilly later qualified his statements.
Obama Speech Sparks Abortion Debate
After then-President Barack Obama gave a commencement speech at Notre Dame where he discussed his pro-choice stance, the women of the view got into a debate on the topic of their own. It evolved into an argument over the nomenclature of the two sides, with Behar insisting that the sides are actually pro-choice and anti-choice, rather than pro-life.
Whoopi Takes Trump to Task Over Obama Birth Certificate
Back in 2011, President Donald Trump went on "The View" to discuss the birther debate around then-President Obama's birth certificate. Goldberg and the other panelists couldn't understand Trump's insistence in this area. Meanwhile, Trump suggested there were no pictures of Obama as a child, no one remembered him as a child and he even alluded that Obama was hiding something. This last comment set Goldberg off completely.
Epic Split-Screen Battle
No list of "View" moments is complete without the biggest and most controversial moment in the history of the show. And the whole reason it blew up is because someone in the control booth decided to create a split-screen of Rosie O'Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck as the two women fought over...well fighting. O'Donnell's issue was that she was made to look like the bully in their discussions and Hasselback didn't have her back. It escalated into a madhouse while Behar tried to get producers to throw to commercial. Instead, the split screen happened and history was made. The incident would lead to O'Donnell's first time leaving the panel as a co-host.