These days The View is still going strong, but back in 2013-2014 the storied daytime talk show was going through a rough patch. At that time the show’s creator Barbara Walters was grappling with her oncoming retirement, and power struggles were erupting between co-hosts about the future of the show. It was at this inauspicious moment that Jenny McCarthy was hired as a co-host by ABC. In a newly-published excerpt from Ramin Setoodeh’s upcoming book Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View, McCarthy compares her experience on the show to a horror movie.
“You know the movie Mommie Dearest?” McCarthy says in the book. “I remember as a child watching that movie and going, ‘Holy cow!’ I’ve never seen a woman yell like that before until I worked with Barbara Walters.”
The first time Walters yelled at McCarthy was in 2007. Not yet a co-host, McCarthy came on The View to discuss her book Louder Than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism. Walters, whose sister Jackie “might have been autistic,” was disgusted at McCarthy’s claims of healing her son’s autism without vaccines and screamed at the guest in the green room ahead of taping.
“My knees were shaking. I remember my whole body was shaking,” McCarthy recalls.
McCarthy had even stranger encounters with Walters once she officially joined the show in 2013. Her hiring was met with heavy criticism related to her vaccine views, though McCarthy says “I consider myself to be pro-vaccine, but pro–safe vaccine” in the book. On top of that, McCarthy says Walters singled her out for weird treatment, such as demanding control over wardrobe choices.
“Barbara would check out what I was wearing. If she didn’t agree with it, or it didn’t complement her outfit, I had to change. Mind you, she doesn’t look at anyone’s clothes but mine … She wanted to start dressing like me. There were times when she’d say change, and she’d make people run out and get that dress in her size. I was a human Barbie doll.”
McCarthy also found herself caught in the middle of the retiring Walters and co-host Whoopi Goldberg, who demanded full control over moderation duties.
“The table reminds me a little bit of Survivor,” McCarthy says in the book. “There was a war between Barbara and Whoopi about Barbara wanting to moderate. This is one of the reasons I decided not to ally with Whoopi. It broke my heart when Barbara would shuffle to Whoopi and say, ‘Can I moderate please?’ And Whoopi would say no.”
A representative for ABC has declined to comment on McCarthy’s claims.
Read the full excerpt at Vulture. Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View is on sale April 2.