‘The View’ co-host Sunny Hostin accuses ABC of racist censorship

Sunny Hostin opens up about the alleged racist behavior from ABC executives as a co-host on 'The View' in her new book.

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Sunny Hostin detailed claims of racism from ABC in her new book and shared how the network attempted to have the narrative removed.

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In the forward for her new memoir, ‘I Am These Truths’, the lawyer opened up on the experiences at the network including a racist incident that resulted in the firing of an executive. In June, Huffpost published a report claiming Barbara Fedida, an ABC News executive in charge of talent, made multiple insensitive remarks toward Black network talent such as Robin Roberts, and was the subject of over a dozen human resource complaints.

Sunny Hostin thegrio.com
Sunny Hostin of ‘The View.’ (ABC/Paula Lobo)

The Los Angeles Times reported Fedida allegedly used the term “low rent” to describe Hostin. After an investigation, the executive lost her job, however, the damage was already done. The View co-host used her platform on the show to describe the feeling of being targeted by racist comments.

“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,” Hostin said. “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’… tells me that systemic racism touches everything and everyone in our society regardless of social stature.”

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Hostin expanded on these feelings in her book’s forward. Entertainment Tonight reports at the time of the expose, her memoir had already gone to the publisher. She called her agent and decided to add her reality deliberately to the book’s forward.

“I’ve got a book coming out. And the book had already gone to the publisher. And I called my agent and I said, ‘I’ve got to write about this and I want it to be at the very beginning of the book. Because this is my truth as I sit here today…  Because this is the truth that I’m living right now. And if that’s gonna help any woman, help anybody that’s going through this during this time in our country, I gotta do it.’ And he said, ‘You better do it.’ And I literally wrote that foreword in about 15 to 20 minutes,” she said to the outlet.

Sunny Hostin thegrio.com
Sunny Hostin, co-host of “The View,” talks about the childhood trauma that inspired her to become a federal prosecutor. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for BET)

According to The Daily Beast, she penned claims that she made less than her White counterparts, and initially had a dressing room on a different floor from the rest of the cast.

Her proclaimed truth was not told without pushback. Hostin sought legal aid when ABC pushed back against segments of her book.

“I was surprised that what was asked of me was to change the truth, to change my story,” Hostin remarked on Andy Cohen Live on Monday.

“I think it’s one thing if I got something wrong and, to be clear, they caught things that were wrong. Timing things, and direct quotes that should have been checked more closely. And I appreciated those things, but then they wanted me to change, things like things that I experienced. Discriminatory things, and I just felt that that wasn’t fair because the title of the book is I Am These Truths,” she continued. 

Hostin revealed the racist sentiments in ABC’s alleged attempted censorship in the forward.

“My television agent and my book agent emailed me to express confusion that a news organization would try to censor a Puerto Rican, African American woman’s story while they were covering global demonstrations demanding racial equity,” the forward stated.

“One of them even calculated the percentages of people of color on the executive boards at Disney, ABC Entertainment, and ABC News—according to him those figures ranged from 7 to 12 percent. I asked my attorneys to intervene and thankfully ABC relented. I didn’t want to believe that racism played a part in their revision requests—we were just dotting some i’s and crossing some t’s, right?”

Beyond the ABC saga,  ‘I Am These Truths’ explores her Puerto Rican and Black upbringing in the Bronx, and her professional journey as a federal prosecutor and journalist. Hostin shared with Bustle she was nervous to pen a memoir and received encouragement from Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

“When I had [the memoir] in front of me, I constantly had these moments when I realized, ‘Wow, this experience was not great. That was a failure, but I turned that failure into a lesson,’ which is an important tool,” she said to the outlet.

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