Though mission behind The View was a forum for women’s differing opinions to be heard, things often devolved into personal attacks. Following some nasty remarks by guest Kathy Griffin, Hasselbeck openly referred to the boisterous comedienne as “scum” on the air.
The Next Morning
It became one of Elisabeth’s first significant controversies on The View. In August 2006, Hasselbeck invited criticism when she spoke out against the widespread availability of the morning after pill. Hasselbeck vehemently stated that it should not be available over the counter under any circumstances, including in cases that were non-consensual. Her co-hosts reacted so strongly to her opinion, screaming in response, that a teary Hasselbeck had to be comforted on air by Barbara Walters following the commercial break.
She Didn’t Vote
The 2000 election took place while Hasselbeck was in the midst of filming Survivor. When prompted by cast member Nick Brown about her absentee ballot, Hasselbeck revealed that she had never filled one out. Brown was incredulous, but his criticism of her priorities struck accord. In the aftermath of the heated election, Hasselbeck said she felt like she had “missed out” and took it upon herself to become more educated about politics. The decision has only aided her politically charged television career.
A Big Whoopie
Hasselbeck managed to get into another blow out, this time with cohost Whoopie Goldberg when they were discussing a 2007 Hilary Clinton proposal for a “baby entitlement”. The plan would have given women $5000 per baby, which on the surface seemed like the kind of legislation that the conservative talk show host would have disagreed with. But she followed up her concerns by pointing out what she saw as an added benefit. If women were receiving money for each child they bore, fewer of them might terminate pregnancies.
In the spring of 2013, rumors began making their way around the internet that Elisabeth was imminently going to be fired from The View. The rumors started after an alleged report said that viewers had been polled regarding their opinions of the show and its cohosts, and they had overwhelmingly found her statements to be too right wing. Given that many TV personalities are judged solely by audience reception, it’s no surprise that if audiences were turning on Elisabeth she might be getting the boot.
The Biggest Blow Out
Political tensions came to a head on The View in the spring of 2007, following the addition of Rosie O’Donnell to the cast. For as outspoken as Elisabeth was regarding her conservative political views, Rosie O’Donnell was even more outspokenly liberal, bringing politics to the forefront of every episode. Though the two ladies argued their different view points daily, there was one particular incident that overshadowed all the others, famously lingering over all of their future interactions.
She Didn’t Aspire To Fame
Hasselbeck hadn’t really considered becoming a TV personality, preferring to stay behind the scenes, despite her run on the second season of the reality show Survivor. It was her agent that pushed her into an audition for The View, following her minor success on the Style Network hosting the show, The Look For Less. Finding participants a bargain wardrobe could not have been more different from her role on The View, where she won over many other women.
It Was Personal
O’Donnell’s vehemence in her May 2007 blowout with Hasselbeck was deemed by fellow co-hosts to have been somewhat personal in nature, though the argument was sparked by a political debate. Joy Behar, who was often Elisabeth’s liberal sparring partner during the course of her 10 year run on the show said in retrospect, “This was kind of personal, this conversation. It became a big argument on the air, and then there was a split screen.” It was so big, it significantly damaged their working relationship.
During her run on The View, Elisabeth seemed to become increasingly entrenched in the conservative hard line on any issue. But many questioned whether or not her staunch opinions were really coming from her. There were whispers behind the scenes that she was being fed opinions from none other than the show’s executive producer, Bill Geddie. Geddie, however, insisted in a July 2007 profile on Hasselbeck that was released in the New York Post, “I’m not back there briefing her.”
Constantly Shocking Audiences
Elisabeth took on a number of highly controversial stances over the years, including her derision of the morning after pill and her support of the war in Iraq. Though it seems clear that she was hired specifically to be the lone conservative antagonist on the show, a tradition which has persisted in the years following her tenure, even Geddie once protested, “She has many thoughts that are shockingly conservative to me.” Despite that, it’s hard to say how much her persona was manufactured.
Tension between Elisabeth and Rosie O’Donnell was present from the moment Rosie was first introduced on the show. But the resentment simmering under the surface erupted in May 2007, as the women screamed at each other from across the table about the war in Iraq. As the argument became ever more heated, the producers cut to a split screen of each woman yelling at the other, which is saved for only the most intense of arguments. The tension was only cut when Shepherd and Behar left the table.
Heaps Of Condescension
In the midst of the infamous blowout, Rosie charged that everyone took Elisabeth’s side only because big, mean Rosie was attacking “poor little Elisabeth”. While Rosie charged Elisabeth with being a coward, succumbing to personal attacks, rather than sticking to the issue, Elisabeth, however, was undeterred, telling Rosie that she should defend her own opinions and not only tear down Elisabeth. Rosie quit the show in the aftermath of the blowout, as Hasselbeck refused to apologize for what she said.
Bill’s Special Request
Bill O’Reilly caused another famous walk off on the show, upsetting both Joy Behar and Whoopie Goldberg, so much that they stormed away from the couch, an action which upset Barbara Walter. But O’Reilly recently revealed that he enjoyed the display, secretly hoping that all the liberal ladies would leave the set as he continued to rile them up. He recalled thinking at the time, “This is great. This is great, maybe Elisabeth [Hasselbeck] can interview me the whole hour.”
Everyone Loved Her
When Elisabeth first achieved national attention, it was as the darling of Survivor‘s second season. The host, Jeff Probst shared in 2014, “When she was on the second season of Survivor, I will tell you this: Every guy on the crew fell in love with her. Every guy. We watched this young girl mature into this fighting phenomenon, and everybody wanted to date her. They thought about marrying Elisabeth. It was all in our fantasies.”
Attacking The Queen
Elisabeth’s comments haven’t been limited to controversial political opinions. In 2013, she made waves again for attacking Beyonce’s performance at the 2013 Presidential Inauguration. Though she didn’t exactly condemn Beyonce for the allegations that she was lip syncing, she went off on a tangent about the national anthem being a “spectator sport” Hasselbeck charged that in other countries, citizens sang along to the national anthem rather than simply listening, and Americans should be doing the same, whether or not they’re good singers.
Probst Likes Her Spunk
Probst shared more about Elisabeth’s transformation between her time on Survivor and her departure from The View. On discussing her staunch conservative values he said, “I will say, Elisabeth’s politics have certainly changed over the time, and I’m not sure what to make of where she stands.” He continued to add, “I’m not saying I align with her, but I like that she does not back down, ever…[S]he’s compelling to watch. You’ve got to give her that.”
Intelligent Handbag Design
Hasselbeck is very open about her Christian faith, and often spoke about it during her time on The View. Another notable episode found Elisabeth comparing intelligent design to fashion design. While many less religiously affiliated derided her comments, her explanation characterized her viewpoint. She shared with the ladies that she thinks about creation in the same way as she thinks about fashion. When she looks at a bag, she thinks, “I wonder who designed this”, which she also then thinks about natural phenomena.
No One Took Her Seriously
If there’s anything Hasselbeck proved over her many years on TV, is that she is not someone to be taken lightly. But however much she gave voice to conservative opinions on mainstream, daytime television, many other conservative hosts also didn’t take her seriously. A 2013 piece on Salon shares that she often found her outreach to other conservative media figures unanswered, despite the assumption that she was merely parroting back the Republican party line from cable news shows.
Criticism From Cast Mates
Many of Elisabeth’s co-competitors from Survivor have kept their opinions of the reality show’s break out star to themselves. But in the 2007 New York Post profile of Hasselbeck, reporters managed to reach former cast mate, Jeff Varner for comment on Hasselbeck’s transformation in the intervening 6 years. After calling her a walking dichotomy and calling her “honest” and “a sweet girl”, he added, “She’s a smart girl and a smart businesswoman, but I never trusted her. And I don’t trust her today.”
Burned By Social Media
With the rise of social media, it became easier than ever for viewers to vocalize their criticism of Hasslebeck’s opinions. Though she made reference to the fact that a lit cigarette could potentially be used as a weapon, internet users heard the sound bite and immediately began attacking her on Twitter, claiming that she was justifying unnecessary police violence on the grounds that the woman, the recently deceased Sandra Bland, was smoking a cigarette in her own car.
Her Changing Opinions
For all the criticism that Hasselbeck is simply a mouthpiece for the Republican party line, she has also come under fire for what some consider inconsistent beliefs. Though she campaigned heavily for John McCain in 2008 and was a vocal defender of Sarah Palin, during the 2012 election, her support seemed to have vanished. Elisabeth’s change of heart was easily explained by the different facts of the two elections. In 2008, she supported Palin as McCain’s running mate. In 2012, she worried Palin was drawing voters away from Mitt Romney.
Other Women Take Aim
Rosie O’Donnell is not the only outspoken liberal woman to have long running hostility with Hasselbeck. Griffin fired the first shots by making fun of Hasselbeck in her standup routine, which Elisabeth called her out on when Griffin was a guest on The View. Though Griffen tried to deflect with humor, her demeanor clearly changed at the confrontation, immediately becoming hostile to Hasselbeck, saying she relished the opportunities the cohosts had to confront her insults head on.
Too Good For Survivor
Jeff Varner’s criticisms of Hasselbeck cut even deeper than his supposed lack of trust. He alleged in the New York Post profile that after she was hired on The View, he emailed Hasselbeck to congratulate her, but never received a response. Clearly the perceived insult still stung, as he alleged that she “dropped him”. He went on to say that Elisabeth also cut ties with her biggest champion on Survivor, Rodger Bingham. But both Hasselbeck and Bingham said they’re still on Christmas card terms.
Escalating Against Kathy
While her animosity with Kathy Griffin may have begun in 2010, neither woman was one to let the controversy die down. Even two years later, Griffin devoted a segment to taking down Hasselbeck’s interview of President Obama in 2012. Griffin played the clip on her show commenting, “Right away, with her attitude to the President, who is a Harvard law professor, I’m like ‘take it down a notch, b***h.” Griffin then yelled on air that her producers needed an uglier photo of Hasselbeck. She finished with more name-calling.
Following her supposed voluntary departure from The View in 2013, Hasselbeck became a fixture on Fox & Friends, finally among peers with regards to her political commentary. But that didn’t stop her statements from being widely ridiculed after she asked a fellow commentator,”Kevin, why has the Black Lives movement — the Black Lives Matter movement — not been classified yet as a hate group?” Unsurprisingly, Twitter users lashed out at her again, one saying that she has the “IQ of a sponge.”
Not long after beginning her run on Fox & Friends, Hasselbeck mysteriously disappeared from the show without warning. It was eventually revealed that doctors had discovered a tumor in her abdomen, and she was waiting to hear back as to whether or not it had been dangerous. She had to have the tumor removed, and luckily was told a week later that the tumor wasn’t cancerous, and she had a clean bill of health. Hasselbeck returned to the show afterwards.
The Animosity Lingers
Hasselbeck was on vacation when ABC announced that they would be rehiring Rosie O’Donnell for The View in 2014. Hasselbeck called into her own show just to say, “What could ruin a vacation more than to hear news like this? Here comes to The View the very woman who spit in the face of our military, spit in the face of her own network and really in the face of a person who stood by her and had civilized debates for the time that she was there.”
Following Gretchen Carlson’s allegations against Roger Ailes’s workplace misconduct, Hasselbeck – who had been hired to replace Carlson – released a statement praising her working relationship with Ailes. She said, “[W]orking for Roger Ailes and with Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade was by far the most rewarding time in my 16-year broadcasting career. Because Roger, Steve, and Brian consistently treated me with overwhelming respect, and pure-hearted kindness, for which I am forever thankful.” Hasselbeck, however, was not the only woman to defend him.
Will Never Return
Hasselbeck shared in an interview with Rachael Ray on her morning talk show that she would never return to The View. She told Ray, “No. I’ve done my time. I did my time, I was outta there.” Elisabeth reignited rumors that she was ousted, rather than choosing to quit when she followed her emphatic “no” with the comment, “You break up with me, I’m not going to kiss you!” Though both Barbara Walters and Hasselbeck insist Hasselbeck chose to leave, the comment makes it seem otherwise.
Why She Disappeared
So where has Hasselbeck been since her 2015 departure from Fox & Friends? When she announced she was leaving the show, the reason she gave was that she wanted to spend more time with her family. Hasselbeck is married to former quarterback and ESPN commentator, Tim Hasselbeck, and they have three young children together. After years of controversy, it seems Hasselbeck was ready for some peace and quiet. They moved from Greenwich, CT to Tennessee with their children in 2016.