Conservative firebrand Meghan McCain says that her liberal co-hosts' heartless abuse prompted her to quit "The View."
McCain makes the revelation in her forthcoming audio memoir, "Bad Republican."
"Bad Republican" debuts Thursday exclusively on Audible.
What are the details?
In an excerpt obtained by Variety, McCain revealed why she chose to leave hit daytime TV talk show "The View" after spending four years as the long-running production's only conservative co-host.
Explaining that it was a "privilege to be part of such an iconic piece of TV history," McCain said it was ultimately the show's "f***ed up" behind-the-scenes culture that pushed her to prioritize her mental and emotional health above a job.
In the excerpt, McCain said co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar were guilty of bullying and abusing her both on- and off-camera, specifically during the Trump presidency.
McCain explained she made the decision to leave after the birth of her daughter, Liberty — who was born in September 2020 — and ultimately announced she'd be leaving the production in July. Her last day on the show was Aug. 6.
Everything changed, she explained, after she gave birth to her first child and developed a severe form of anxiety due to postpartum hormones. Despite the acute illness — of which McCain insists the show's producers were aware — the chronic attacks and off-camera bullying continued following her three-month hiatus.
"On my second day back, as I was still getting my sea legs back and adjusting to my new schedule and life between breast-pumping and researching for my hot topics, Joy and I began squabbling a bit about the state of the Democratic Party on air," McCain said. "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 said Behar's response cut her to the bone.
"I did not. I did not miss you," Behar yelled. "Zero."
McCain explained nothing she ever experienced on camera "ever hit this hard."
"I felt like I'd been slapped. She yelled out at me sharp and intensely, and I believed her," McCain added. "Now, I know I'm not always a perfect angel, but I would never speak to any woman that way who had just returned after giving birth. There are some things in life and some moments of time in life which are sacred. There are also times in life where you aren't as strong as you usually are."
McCain said when the show broke for commercial, she, too, broke.
"I burst into tears," she said. "[U]ncontrollable sobbing. I was super hormonal and deeply hurt."
She told producers, "If you guys didn't want me to come back, I wouldn't have come back!"
"I told him he might need to pull my camera away for minute because I wasn't sure if I could get myself together in time to go back to interviewing people," the excerpt continued. "I get my boobs begin to leak from lactation. I was embarrassed and shaking. I felt like I wasn't in control of my body. I didn't want millions of viewers to see that. After sobbing for what felt like an eternity, I wiped my face, took deep breaths, and double-checked that my nipples were not in camera range. I tried to smile and focus as the show resumed."
"That experience," she continued, "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. Nothing in life is worth this."
McCain added she finished out the segment and the show and took refuge in her office.
"I rushed down stairs, closed my door, threw up in the garbage can and I finished the crying session I'd had to interrupt before," McCain continued. "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 on 'The View' coming out to bite me."
McCain said she decided to be upfront and honest with producers about how Behar's remark hurt her — but was told that she wouldn't be getting an apology.
"I never talked to Joy one on one again after that day," she admitted.
Another portion of the excerpt says, "[T]here's stuff that happens on 'The View' that shouldn't be allowed," she added. "For whatever reason, there's a deep level of misogyny about the way 'The View' is covered and written about in the media, where tabloids are always writing about the co-hosts hating each other backstage. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy because the atmosphere of 'The View' breeds drama: Producers can't control hosts, manage conflict, or control leaking. My take on the show is that working at 'The View' 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***ed up, it feels like quicksand."
McCain said when she first joined the show in 2017 she felt a kinship with Goldberg.
"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," McCain explained. "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."
Goldberg's reported "disdain" for McCain only grew over the years, the conservative broadcaster explained, fostered only by McCain's Republican ideologies.
The treatment, she insisted, only grew more severe as former President Donald Trump's presidency progressed.
"It was as if I had become an avatar for everything they hated about the president," she said. "It felt like the co-hosts and staff only knew one Republican — me — and took out all their anger on me, even though I didn't even vote for Trump. ... During my time on 'The View,' I felt like I was being often being punished and singled out for being a conservative. I'd hear a lot of complaints that the staff, including the other co-hosts and producers, had problems with my 'personality.' Until I got pregnant, I could handle it and manage it. No matter how hard the days were, I accepted the tradeoff. I was on the most watched TV show on daytime TV with a platform to speak to — and for — millions of women in this country. This was the deal with the devil I knowingly made."
The show, she reasoned, "is billed as being honest and open" as well as an "arena for women to share and discuss their views on politics and the most important topics of the day."
"A space where women support — and respectfully challenge — each other," she added. "But the truth is that the environment of the show is toxic. Here I was, thinking that I had been through so much with these women. Together, we had helped bring the show back from the dead. We won an Emmy. We became America's 'most watched daytime talk show.' We were on the covers of magazines. After giving birth, I didn't feel like myself. I felt extremely vulnerable. Joy seemed to smell that vulnerability like a shark smells blood in the water, and she took after it. Why was this worth it to her? I will never know. But, so much for working moms looking out for each other."
The excerpt concluded, "Look, it's not all bad. I'll be attached to it for the rest of my life, for better or worse. I'm not mad about what happened to me. Other hosts who've left are like, 'F*** The View.' I don't feel that way. I'm not bitter or angry. I want change. The idea of show dedicated to women having conversations that society reserves for men is important and necessary in our culture. But there are some things about the show that feel stuck in 1997 when 'The View' first went on air. In this era of dismantling toxic work environments and refusing to accept the poor treatment of employees, how is 'The View' still immune?"