The View's Most Explosive Episodes

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If there were ever a TV talk show formula that guaranteed controversy, it's ABC's The View. Thanks to the genius of media veteran Barbara Walters, who gathered women of different ages, cultural backgrounds, and politics together, the show was ahead of its time when it began back in 1997. It wasn't exactly one of those '90s "trash TV" shows like Maury or Ricki Lake — nobody was throwing chairs or confronting their baby daddy. Yet somehow, when you put five drastically different women in a room and ask them to "discuss" hot topics, the results can be just as unpredictable. Imagine the feeling of reading nasty comments on social media ... but then having them all acted out in front of you. These women were pioneers of their time!

So for that reason, we can't help but get the popcorn out and take a look back at some of The View's most explosive moments — from laughter to screams to full-on tears. Who's ready for an adrenaline rush?

Rosie O'Donnell's unforgettable Donald Trump impression

When it comes to speaking her mind, comedian and former daytime talk show host Rosie O'Donnell never disappoints, which made her a perfect match for The View. As expected, she didn't hold back — especially in 2006, when she did a hilarious impression of Donald Trump on the show. 

Trump, who owned the Miss USA pageant at the time, had just held a press conference about whether he would allow the current Miss USA to retain her crown after she was caught partying. After bringing up the topic, O'Donnell suddenly flipped her hair to one side in a way that looked EXACTLY like Trump, and mimicked his voice in what sounded like a cross between the now-President and Rocky Balboa. The audience roared while O'Donnell said sarcastically, "He's the moral authority. Left the first wife, had an affair. Left the second wife, had an affair. Had kids both times, but he's the moral compass for 20-year-olds in America. Donald, sit and spin my friend!" 

Needless to say, the moment didn't sit well with Trump and sparked a years-long feud between the two. O'Donnell told Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live in 2017 that Trump pretty much "went really bats**t crazy" on her. When The View co-host Joy Behar suggested that being on Trump's bad side was somewhat of an honor, O'Donnell agreed, but added that being targeted by him for over a decade "makes the PTSD fairly intense."

Elisabeth Hasselbeck's backstage rant on The View

The View's "secret sauce" is obviously the differences between the women that allow for interesting conversations. One huge example of that was the 2006 exchange between TV vet Barbara Walters and her conservative co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck. In a discussion about the morning-after pill being made available over-the-counter, Hasselbeck strongly expressed her opinion that it was a "slippery slope to just eliminating life." Walters then reached her hand out and said, "Calm down dear," later adding, "We've got to be able to have these discussions and listen to other people's opinions, and not go so crazy [waves arms] that you don't listen to anybody's opinion." As the show cut to commercial, Hasselbeck tore up her cue cards.

Offstage (in a hot mic moment) she then ranted to Joy Behar, saying, "F**k that! I'm not going to sit there and get reprimanded on the air ... What the f**k? I'm not going back out there ... I can take it in the meeting. I'm not taking it out there on-air ... Goodbye. I'm off. Write about that in the New York f**king Post!" Producers eventually convinced her to continue, and she and Walters hugged it out. The backstage audio was later released by the author of Ladies Who Punch! to Variety in 2019.

Two of The View co-hosts walk out on Bill O'Reilly

As much as Barbara Walters hated walkouts on the show, she was in for yet another one in 2010. When conservative talk show host Bill O'Reilly came to sit on The View's couch, he didn't waste any time sharing his opinions on 9/11, as part of a promotional appearance for his book, Pinheads and Patriots. When O'Reilly took the position that it was "inappropriate" for a Muslim community center to be built near Ground Zero in New York City, Whoopi Goldberg asked him why, especially considering that "70 families who are Muslim" also lost loved ones in the tragedy. O'Reilly responded, "Muslims killed us on 9/11, that's why!" After the ladies uproared (with several words bleeped out), he then doubled down: "Muslims didn't kill us on 9/11? Is that what you're saying?"

"Extremists did that," Goldberg said with a pointed finger. Shortly afterward, Joy Behar stood up from her seat next to O'Reilly and said, "I don't want to sit here now." Goldberg then stood up with her and the two left the stage.

After Walters criticized them on-air for their exit, they returned. O'Reilly then apologized for the comment. All seemed well — until 2016, that is, when O'Reilly announced on his own show that he'd never appear on The View again because of Behar's claim that Donald Trump was unstable. "That's it," he said. "No more View for me."

O'Donnell and Hasselbeck argue on split screen

Rosie O'Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck were two of The View's most controversial hosts, and so when they went head-to-head back in 2007 ... let's just say, sparks flew. Quick backstory: On a previous episode, O'Donnell made a comment about the Iraq War – "655,000 Iraqi civilians are dead. Who are the terrorists?" — leading to a backlash from conservative media. On a subsequent show, O'Donnell then challenged Hasselbeck on why she didn't defend her against the criticism. 

It became so tense, that instead of going to commercial, the producers put them on a split screen and let them go at each other on-air. Said O'Donnell to Hasselbeck: "I asked you if you believed what the Republican pundits were saying ... You said nothing, and that's cowardly." Hasselbeck retorted, "Do NOT call me a coward." At one point, Joy Behar asked, "Is there no commercial in this show?" to which the audience laughed.

Sadly, the two haven't exactly made up since then. In an interesting twist of events, the 2019 book Ladies Who Punch! quoted O'Donnell as saying she actually had a "little bit of a crush" on Hasselbeck that was "in no way sexualized" (via USA Today). After Hasselbeck called the comment "disturbing" during a guest appearance on The View, O'Donnell took to Twitter to explain herself once again, saying: "Hey eh – my crush on u was not sexual – sorry u got scared."

Whoopi Goldberg scolds Kate Gosselin on The View

When Whoopi Goldberg gets going, watch out. She had some words for Kate Gosselin in a 2009 episode, resulting in a half-lecture, half tear-down over the reality star's judgment as a mother. During her appearance, Gosselin explained why she had recently broken her custody agreement and showed up at ex-husband Jon Gosselin's house unexpectedly: Basically, she was upset that a babysitter of whom she never approved — who was later rumored to have dated her ex – was watching their children.

Upon hearing this, Goldberg took her to task over showing up at her ex's house when it wasn't her appointed time with the kids. "When you go into a custody thing with someone, you have your specific time, and their specific time ... and I'm sorry, that's the law ... You could have gone to jail ... Do you realize that?" Gosselin responded, "I've learned my lesson, and I learned it was not a good thing." 

Co-host Sherri Shepherd quickly defended Gosselin, saying that divorce is difficult because while "you know what the law says in your head," another part of you might not feel right about it. However, this just made Goldberg more entrenched in her point of view, saying emphatically, "But you cannot do that. You cannot DO that ... [because] his attitude could be the same on something ... that you feel is perfectly normal."

Joy Behar snaps at Meghan McCain

Joy Behar and Meghan McCain have gone up against each other many times politically on The View. So it wasn't surprising when, after Behar decided to criticize President Trump over the issue of pollution in 2018 — before getting into the topic of the day (the death of George H.W. Bush) — McCain wasn't having it. 

Behar started by saying, "If I ever become a one-issue voter, it'll be about pollution and the greenhouse effect." McCain then interrupted: "Could we focus on [former President Bush], please? ... We're honoring a great President who passed." As Behar kept trying to steer the conversation back, McCain continued, "Well, I'm not interested in your one-issue voter when our President just passed." Behar retorted, "I don't care what you're interested in, I'm talking! D**mit!" Co-host Whoopi Goldberg quickly cut to commercial break. 

Of course, Behar and McCain have had a seemingly contentious on-air relationship. After all, McCain even called her a "b***h" once. However, they both insisted on-air that the "b***h" thing was blown out of proportion. Said McCain: "I just want everyone to stop being so precious about our relationship because it's almost 2020 and women can debate on TV in a spirited way without it being personal, and I know this is a big shock, but we get along backstage" (via CNN).

Goldberg gets into a screaming match with Judge Pirro

Soooo, it probably wasn't a great idea to have conservative Judge Jeanine Pirro on with Whoopi Goldberg, but hey — that's why they call it The View, right? During her 2018 appearance, the gloves came off around the issue of immigration.  

At one point, Pirro indicated that Goldberg had "Trump derangement syndrome," to which Goldberg responded: "Did you just point at me? ... Let me tell you what I have ... I'm tired of people starting a conversation with, 'Mexicans are liars and rapists.'" Goldberg then attempted to change the subject, but Pirro wasn't about to back down, and the duo continued to point fingers at each other — it even escalated after the show. Pirro addressed the incident on Fox News, claiming that she "was cursed at" backstage and that she and her team were "thrown out of the building" after the segment. She reiterated her statements to TMZ, as well, alleging they treated her like she was "less than human." 

Goldberg later made her own statement on The View, saying that Pirro's post-show assessment left out some "key points," including that after the segment, Pirro had "called everybody at the table a name I cannot repeat on TV, and said it in front of the audience." Goldberg claimed Pirro then approached her backstage, and while the two got into an argument, "no one chased her out."

Star Jones quits The View right in front of a live audience

In a quietly tense moment, co-host Star Jones abruptly quit The View while on-air in 2006. Before Joy Behar was able to start the segment, Jones put her hand on Behar's arm and said, "I apologize for interrupting you. Something's been on my heart for a little bit, and ... after much prayer and counsel, I feel like this is the right time to tell you that the show's moving in another direction for its tenth season, and I will not be returning as co-host next year." The audience gasped, while Behar said it was "shocking." 

Barbara Walters explained later in the show that Jones knew her contract wasn't being renewed in the fall, and that while they hoped she would find another job and "leave with dignity," she apparently "made another choice" instead — presumably by announcing that she was fired on live TV. 

It was later revealed that Jones was let go by ABC, because according to Walters, "her negatives were rising." Some speculated it had to do with criticism she got for asking for donations for her wedding in exchange for free business promotion (via The New York Times). However, Jones told Larry King that while she was given the choice about how to explain her firing, she simply chose to "tell the truth."

The ladies of The View take on Ann Coulter

Kind of like Bill O'Reilly, conservative author and pundit Ann Coulter is always good for a dose of on-air controversy, don't you think? Never to be underestimated, both Coulter (and the ladies of The View, for that matter) brought their A-game when she appeared on the show in 2012 to promote her book, Mugged.

Coulter opened with the statement, "Racemongering has been very bad for America. Liberals use it to promote causes that have nothing to do with blacks, and in fact harm blacks," and then claimed that the O.J. Simpson verdict shut down the "white guilt bank" which was "the best thing that ever happened to black America." Of course, chaos immediately ensued, including Whoopi Goldberg confronting her with, "If you're going to talk about race, at least know what you're talking about ... Tell me how much you know about being black?" 

At another point in the discussion, Coulter claimed that segregationists were "all liberal Democrats," to which Goldberg said, "Everyone was a segregationist, darling ... everybody was!" Goldberg then called "bulls**t" (bleeped, of course) as the audience applauded. Walters later challenged Coulter on whether the point of her books is really just to stir up controversy, to which Coulter answered, "I try to correct things that people believe that are just false."

Rosie Perez challenges Kelly Osbourne on The View

Lots of people were shocked when Kelly Osbourne made a faux pas on camera that, when taken at face value, seemed to offend the Latino community. In a discussion about Donald Trump's stance on immigration in 2015, Osbourne quipped, "If you kick every Latino out of this country, then who is going to be cleaning your toilet, Donald Trump?" 

After a pregnant pause, Puerto Rican-American co-host Rosie Perez took issue with Osbourne, responding, "Latinos are not the only people doing that." Osbourne quickly said she "didn't mean it like that," but the damage was done, and she soon took heat on social media and in the press for the gaffe.

Osbourne later apologized on Facebook with a statement: "I want to start by saying I ALWAYS take responsibility for my actions. In this particular case I will take responsibility for my poor choice of words but I will not apologize for being a racist as I am NOT. I whole-hearted f**ked up today ... It is my hope that this situation will open up a conversation about immigration and the Latin community as a whole. By the way I clean my own f**king toilets."

Meanwhile, Perez defended Osbourne at the end of the show, as well as tweeted her support by saying: "My apologies @KellyOsbourne, I took your point wrong ... My bad. You're heart is so pure & righteous. I adore you."

Shepherd and Hasselbeck argue over the N-word

When Rev. Jesse Jackson was caught on a live mic using the N-word in 2008, the women of The View brought their various views on it to the table — and as you'd imagine, things got heated quickly. Once Elisabeth Hasselbeck asserted her opinion that nobody should use it — publicly or privately — both Sherri Shepherd and Whoopi Goldberg immediately insisted that she didn't understand the racial nuances of the situation. "Don't tell me I can't use that word," Shepherd said. "Because I use it."

After a few minutes of going back and forth, Hasselbeck broke down in tears, saying, "This is upsetting to me." Barbara Walters then jumped in and told her to "take a breath and let someone else talk," to which Hasselbeck responded, "I am. But this is a conversation that is hard. And we're going to have it here. And we have it here well, because we love each other."

Raven Symone and Candace Cameron Bure debate on The View

After an Oregon bakery was fined for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple in 2015, the women of The View were all over it. Raven Symone, who identifies as lesbian herself, and Candace Cameron Bure, known for her conservative views, immediately butted heads

"The Oregon law bars businesses from discriminating against sexual orientation, race, disability, age, and religion," Symone began. "And to me it's the same exact thing that they did back in the day, saying that black people couldn't do certain things because 'It's my religious belief.'" Bure countered that it "wasn't discrimination at all," but rather about "first amendment rights," because "we do have the right to still choose who we associate with."  

"I refuse to associate myself with you right now. Is that okay?" Symone asked. For her part, Bure later told HuffPost Live, "I was pleased with, you know, how I handled myself." The Fuller House star clarified, however, that she didn't mean to imply she herself would make the same decision as the Oregon bakery: "I'll always fight for religious freedoms, but I think people misunderstand that when you do fight for religious freedom, in that particular case, it doesn't mean that I personally would always respond the way the people in the case are responding."