Why Hollywood Dumped Raven Symone

Raven-Symoné got her big break as the adorable, dimpled Olivia Kendall on The Cosby Show in 1989. She used the show as a launchpad to other series, including Hangin' With Mr. Cooper and movie roles in Dr. Dolittle and Dr. Dolittle 2. As a child and teen starlet, Raven-Symoné was the marquee name in That's So Raven on the Disney Channel from 2003 to 2007, during which time she also did voiceover work on the network's hit animated series Kim Possible.

Since she's reached adulthood, however, the starlet hasn't done that much. Why can't she get cast anymore? It turns out, there are quite a few reasons, not all of which are fair nor her fault.

She kind of made a mess on The View

Okay, so this one is her fault: Raven-Symoné's longest-running gig post-That's So Raven has been her panelist post on The View. That would be great, except she's put her foot in her mouth so often that she might just love the taste of shoes—and that can send casting agents running for the hills.

Her most infamous offense on the longstanding talk staple was in October 2015, when she jumped in on a segment about being judged for one's name. "Can we take back 'racist' and say 'discriminatory?' Because I think that's a better word," she said. "And I'm very discriminatory against the words like the ones they were saying in those names. I'm not going to hire you if your name is Watermelondrea. That's just not going to happen. I'm not going to hire you."

Fans blew up with backlash, and even Ann Coulter called her out for the ignorance of the claim.

Raven-Symoné later apologized, writing on Facebook, "My comments about discrimination have spun out of control. I'd like to begin by saying that I was not attacking a specific race, but repeating a name that was said in a viral video which has received over 2 million likes." "I have been denied many jobs...Each time I was rejected, my self-esteem was negatively effected [sic], so I empathize with those who feel victimized by what I said," she continued. "We would hope that when it comes to hiring, our names, physical appearance, sexual orientation, and age would never outweigh our qualifications, but often times, they do, that's the truth and it sucks. But I should not be part of the problem, I should be part of the solution...As an equal opportunity employer, I have never discriminated against a name...even though I said I would, it's not true. My comment was in poor taste. My lack of empathy towards name discrimination was uncalled for."

She didn't call out Bill Cosby

It's somewhat understandable why Raven-Symoné would hesitate to call out Bill Cosby on his numerous sexual assault allegations, but even when alleged proof came out, she still stood by him—despite him likely being blacklisted from Hollywood. In 2014, she wrote on Instagram, "I was NOT [taken] advantage of by Mr. Cosby when I was on the Cosby Show. I was practically a baby on that show and this is truly a disgusting rumor that I want no part of! Everyone on that show treated me with nothing but kindness. Now keep me out of this!"

Her approach made feminists furious. Later, she explained on The View (via People), "I don't really like to talk about it that much because he's the reason I'm on this panel in the first place. He gave me my first job. But at the same time, you need the proof, and then I'll be able to give my judgment here or there. And now there are real facts. More people can come up."

She caused racial controversy

Even Oprah side-eyed Raven-Symoné in October 2014, when she told the hostess with the mostest, "I'm tired of being labeled. I'm an American. I'm not an African-American; I'm an American. I mean, I don't know where my roots go to." "I don't know how far back they go...I don't know what country in Africa I'm from, but I do know that my roots are in Louisiana," she continued. "I'm an American. And that's a colorless person. I don't label myself. I have darker skin. I have a nice, interesting grade of hair. I connect with Caucasian, I connect with Asian, I connect with Black, I connect with Indian, I connect with each culture."

When fans gave her backlash, she made it worse by trying to explain herself yet again. During a sit-down with E! News, Raven-Symoné said, "I never said I wasn't black, I said I wasn't African American—to me that's a difference. Thank you to Ancestry.com for sending me my DNA test...I am from every continent in Africa except for one and I'm also from every continent in Europe except for one."


She caused controversy within the LGBTQ community, too

In the same interview in which Raven-Symoné denied labeling herself as African American, she also declined to label her own sexuality in any way whatsoever. This angered some fans who felt she could be an advocate for LGBTQ causes. When Oprah asked her about a tweet she'd posted celebrating marriage equality in 2013, she replied, "That was my way of saying I'm proud of the country. But, I will say that I'm in an amazing, happy relationship with my partner. A woman...I try my best to hold the fence where I can. But I am proud to be who I am and what I am....I don't want to be labeled 'gay.' I want to be labeled 'a human who loves humans.'"

Hollywood can be sizeist

Raven-Symoné struggled with both being too big and too small for Hollywood's fickle, unrealistic standards. She told People that execs told her to lose weight "ever since [she] was very young." When she did drop the pounds circa 2011, to her surprise, they complained she was too thin!

She told the mag that when she dropped 70 pounds and arrived on the set of her short-lived ABC Family sitcom State Of Georgia in December 2010, "They had to pad my outfits. I finally lose weight, and the show wants me to be thicker!"

Still, she has a healthy outlook that will save her. She explained, "I could look in the mirror and see me at 200 lbs. or 135 lbs. and I'm still the same person." Cheers to that.

How she can turn it around

Because Raven-Symoné tends to go off on tangents that can get her into trouble, scripted TV shows are likely a much safer bet for her. In October 2016, it was announced that she'll star in and executive produce a spinoff series to That's So Raven on the Disney Channel. The same month, she announced she'd be leaving The View to focus on the series full-time, which is a smart move, given her past controversies; it's time to reboot and correct that last few years. She can also continue her voiceover work, which includes voicing fairy Iridessa in Disney's Tinkerbell franchise.

Another option is to make music again: she released numerous albums and tracks between 1993 and 2009, and she's got a fantastic voice.

All in all, she may be down, but she's far from out of the game just yet.