Meghan McCain is opening up about why she left “The View” in her tell-all new memoir Bad Republican, claiming “the environment of the show is toxic.”
McCain spent the last four years of her life as the conservative co-host on the show, hitting headlines for her controversial views and arguments with her co-hosts, all while dealing with the death of her father — Arizona Senator John McCain.
The columnist writes in an exclusive excerpt published by Variety, “On July 1, 2021, I announced live on air that I was leaving ‘The View’ after four years. My co-hosts learned about my decision that morning, and the shock registered on their faces. I’d been talking to ABC’s higher-ups for weeks about wanting to leave. Up until the week before, they were trying to convince me to stay and finish out the two years left on my contract. I told them it was too late — I had to get out.
“I didn’t get much sleep the night before the announcement. I kept going over the things I’d be saying on the show the next morning — and also, the things I would not be saying. I would be talking about what an incredible opportunity being on the show was, how much respect I had for my co-hosts, and how much I’d learned from being there. But I would not mention that 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.”
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The memoir adds that “there’s stuff that happens on ‘The View’ that shouldn’t be allowed.”
McCain writes, “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**ked up, it feels like quicksand.”
She adds of the “toxic” environment, “HR reports seem to fall on deaf ears, starting from years before I worked there. And as a result, people — both on camera and off — feel empowered to act however they like, and do whatever they want. 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.
“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.”
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McCain also speaks about Joy Behar saying that she “did not miss” her one bit when she came back from maternity leave during an on-air argument.
This led the host, who was suffering from severe postpartum anxiety after giving birth to her daughter, Liberty, in September 2020, to burst into tears during the commercial.
She writes, “Not just like tearing up, uncontrollable sobbing. I was super hormonal and deeply hurt.”
McCain adds that she wouldn’t have returned if she knew everyone didn’t want her there, explaining how her boobs were leaking from lactation and she was “embarrassed and shaking.”
“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**t isn’t worth this. Nothing in life is worth this,’” and that was the day she decided she was going to leave.
During an interview with Variety, McCain adds of her saying she thought “The View” was a “toxic work environment”: “I feel like everybody knows that. You can watch the show and see that it’s unhinged and disorganized and rowdy. For me personally, it felt extremely isolating because of my political ideology. I was the only conservative on the show. The third year, they ended up hiring a producer for me who was also conservative.
“I need to put the context in. I was working on the show as the only conservative during the Trump years. I felt like a lot of people took out their anger on the administration on me because I was the only person in the building who was a Republican. I felt like I was too many degrees of separation close to Trump, despite the fact that everyone who worked on the show saw first-hand how much President Trump and his family put me through emotionally.
“I feel like I have post-traumatic stress from having to feud with the president when my dad was dying, and then having to feud with the president after he died. And I haven’t fully healed.”
Following McCain’s comments, a spokesperson from “The View” released a statement, reading, “For 25 years, ‘The View’ has been a platform on-air and behind the scenes for strong women.”
It continued, “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.”