Meghan McCain is lifting the curtain on why she really decided to leave The View.
In her new memoir Bad Republican, McCain calls the work environment at the show “toxic” and details one particular exchange with Joy Behar that made her realize “this s*** isn’t worth this.” The conservative pundit adds that Whoopi Goldberg’s “open disdain for me” was also a catalyst, according to Variety‘s excerpt.
“The way I’d been treated on the show as the resident conservative, particularly upon my return from maternity leave, had made it impossible for me to stay,” she explains.
McCain announced in July she’d depart the show after four years, which was two years before her contract was up.
“There’s stuff that happens on The View that shouldn’t be allowed,” she says, claiming the show “brings out the worst in people.”
“I believe that all the women and the staff are working under conditions where the culture is so f***** up, it feels like quicksand,” she continues. McCain calls out network ABC for failing to “lay down the law when it comes to conduct,” alleging “HR reports seem to fall on deaf ears.” (A source close to the situation tells Yahoo Entertainment that ABC News addressed all complaints McCain raised, and all complaints that were raised about her.)
When contacted by Yahoo Entertainment on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the show issued the following statement: “For 25 years, The View has been a platform on air and behind the scenes for strong women. Live television and different perspectives can often lead to surprising moments, but the team is collaborative and supportive — focused on delivering an informative daily talk show to our loyal viewers.”
That wasn’t all McCain had to say about her time on The View.
“In my four years there, I was the target of plenty of shade — too much to even begin to recount — and then I also experienced more toxic, direct and purposeful hostility,” she writes, before pointing the finger and Goldberg.
McCain notes she “felt a connection to Whoopi” when she joined the show in 2017.
“She had made a promise to my father that she would look after me, and she kept her word for the first two years that I was on the show. The thing about Whoopi, though, is that she yields so much power in culture and television, and once she turns on you, it can create unfathomable tension at the table,” McCain writes. “I found her open disdain for me more and more difficult to manage as the years went on and it became more frequent.”
McCain notes two specific moments with Goldberg that went viral — “OK” and “Girl, please stop talking” — that “left a scar on our relationship.”
“You can’t imagine how it messes with your self-esteem working in an environment where the worst thing you can be in the world is a Republican during the Trump years. As the country got worse under Trump, the treatment from Whoopi, Joy and some of the staff grew meaner and less forgiving,” McCain writes, noting again she never voted for former President Donald Trump.
McCain believes she was “often being punished and singled out for being a conservative” on the show.
“I’d hear a lot of complaints that the staff, including the other co-hosts and producers, had problems with my ‘personality,'” she continues. “Until I got pregnant, I could handle it and manage it. No matter how hard the days were, I accepted the tradeoff.”
McCain says things “changed” after she gave birth to her first child, daughter Liberty, in September 2020.
“After I gave birth to Liberty, I suffered from severe postpartum anxiety,” she says, adding, “I couldn’t also navigate the idea that I was hated and felt hated at a toxic work environment.”
McCain details what happened during an on-air disagreement in January with Behar during her second day back from maternity leave.
“Joy and I began squabbling a bit about the state of the Democratic Party on air. To make light of things and to ease the tension, I said, ‘Joy, you missed me so much when I was on maternity leave! You missed fighting with me!'” McCain recalls.
Behar responded, “I did not. I did not miss you. Zero.”
“Nothing anyone has ever said to me on camera since I have been giving interviews since I was 22 years old ever hit this hard,” McCain says, saying she began “uncontrollable sobbing” during the commercial break. “I was super hormonal and deeply hurt.”
McCain says she told a producer, “If you guys didn’t want me to come back, I wouldn’t have come back!”
“That experience of crying and leaking and trying to pull it together in seconds so I could go back on-air with women who appeared to hate me was an intensely heartbreaking experience. I can’t explain it further other than I felt like in that moment I took a look at my life outside of myself and I thought clearly — this s*** isn’t worth this,” McCain continues, accusing Behar of triggering “my postpartum anxiety.”
“While I wept, I no longer felt safe working at The View. It is one of the most singular feelings of loneliness and anguish I have felt in my entire life. It was a perfect storm of hormones, postpartum anxiety and a lot of demons,” she continues. “I never talked to Joy one on one again after that day.”
A producer told McCain she wouldn’t get an apology from Behar, which she found “too difficult for me to forgive or move on from.”
“I didn’t have the emotional bandwidth anymore to try with any of them anymore,” she adds.
“When I went back to the show, I felt like I was being disingenuous. I thought of the press I would have to do next season, the junkets. It’s all about women supporting women. I didn’t want to lie anymore. I couldn’t. I couldn’t put on the happy face after what I went through,” McCain writes.
McCain believes it’s her duty to advocate for paid parental leave. A source tells Yahoo that full-time ABC News employees receive paid parental leave.
Bad Republican is available on Audible on Oct. 21.