The View's Sunny Hostin says she's 'hurt' by ABC News exec's alleged racist comments about her
Over the weekend, Huffington Post published a report that claimed Barbara Fedida, who is senior vice president, talent and business at the network, had made insensitive and racist comments about Hostin and other on-air talent, including Good Morning America's Robin Roberts.
ABC News has since placed Fedida on administrative leave as the network conducts an independent investigation. Fedida issued a statement through her attorney calling the allegations “incredibly misleading.”
During Monday's episode of The View, Hostin and her co-hosts addressed the report.
"We want to address a Huffington Post article from this weekend about ABC News Senior Vice President of Talent and Business Affairs, Barbara Fedida," began Whoopi Goldberg. "The article cited unnamed sources claiming that Fedida made racist and derogatory comments about several members of staff."
After learning about the alleged comments, Hostin said she was "hurt."
"It was a tough weekend for me and I was really disappointed and saddened and hurt when I learned about the racist comments that were made allegedly about me, my colleagues and my dear friends," began Hostin, 51.
"Because if true, to reference Robin Roberts, who is one of the most respected and beloved journalists in our country, as picking cotton. To reference me, someone who's been very open about having grown up in public housing, as being low rent," said Hostin. (PEOPLE is out to Good Morning America for comment.)
"To reference Kendis Gibson, who was my office mate at ABC and now is an MSNBC anchor, to say that he isn't worth paying as much as ABC would pay for toilet paper. The fact that Mara Schiavocampo, who is a friend and a former colleague at ABC, the fact that she has an NDA in place and can't talk about her experiences at ABC tells me that systemic racism touches everything and everyone in our society, regardless of social stature," continued Hostin. "No one is immune."
In a tweet on Saturday, Gibson, who is now an anchor at MSNBC, said: "I really enjoyed the show & people I worked with at @ABC. I look back at my time there fondly. I’m still surprised and disappointed by the reported remarks made about me by an exec there, if true. My hope is, and always has been, for a more diverse industry."
When reached by phone by the Huffington Post, Schiavocampo declined to comment.
She went on to say, "it's the type of racism that black people deal with every single day and it has to stop. And I look forward to the results of what I hear is going to be an independent external investigation."
In a statement, ABC News management said the network was conducting an investigation.
"There are deeply disturbing allegations in this story that we need to investigate, and we have placed Barbara Fedida on administrative leave while we conduct a thorough and complete investigation," said the statement from ABC News. "These allegations do not represent the values and culture of ABC News, where we strive to make everyone feel respected in a thriving, diverse and inclusive workplace."
Fedida also released a statement in response to the allegations, saying in a statement — through her attorney — to Huffington Post, "Throughout my career, I have been a champion for increased diversity in network news. Building a news division where everyone can thrive has been my life’s mission. I am proud of my decades of work of hiring, supporting and promoting talented journalists of color. And, unlike these heartbreaking and incredibly misleading claims about me, that track record is well-documented and undeniable."
PEOPLE is also out to ABC News representatives for further comment from Fedida.
Coming alongside her in the wake of the report, Hostin said that she felt love and support from her colleagues and executive producers at The View.
"I felt very loved and supported by my colleagues. I felt supported by all of you. I know Meghan [McCain] and I had at least an hour conversation this weekend. Whoopi, you were so supportive. Joy, you were so supportive. My executive producers on the show were so supportive. And I thank you all for that," she said.
"But again, this has got to stop, and I just look forward to changes," said Hostin, "if all of this is true here at ABC and just in our country."
Her co-hosts then proceeded to vocalize their support for Hostin one-by-one.
"I'm very sorry that Sunny's been hurt by this. As she said, we stick with our girls; we support each other. I think it's great that ABC is doing an intensive investigation. This type of thing has to be rooted out and we'll see what happens," said Joy Behar.
Meghan McCain also said she echoed "what everyone's saying about an independent investigation."
"Look, all of us have zero tolerance for any kind of racism or intolerance period. Sunny and I did have a long conversation this weekend. She's in a lot of pain and I am disgusted by these allegations as everyone is. And I just want to make one thing really clear: There's a lot of people that say a lot things about these hosts and this show in the press, but when you attack one of us, you're attacking all of us. And I stand and support Sunny throughout all of this in any way that you need. And I stand and support my colleagues at ABC who have been attacked like this."
McCain went on to add that "this one's a tough blow."
Goldberg, who knows Fedida personally, went on to share her perspective of the situation.
"I know Barbara Fedida and I don't think she's a racist. Everything I know about her doesn't say that she has this in her," she said.
She also went to encourage everyone to wait for the "independent investigation" to reveal the facts: "But I will say that one of the things that everyone should always make sure we say, and I say it all the time, is let's find out. Let's find out, because if it's true, she's gone. But if it's not, let's find out what's going on. An independent investigation is what this needs, because you know the days of systemic racism are ending. Those walls are coming down and we're pulling them down. So I feel like having lived through this kind of thing where someone accused me of doing something I didn't do, I'm always first and foremost to say, 'Okay, let's find out what really is the truth,' and once we find out what the truth is, we'll deal with it. Because nobody can deal with this anymore. There's too much stuff happening in the world. No reason for anybody to be in this kind of pain."
She concluded with a message for "all you racists out there," saying, "we know you. And if you turn out to be in the walls of the building, we're tearing the building down. You're coming out."
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