Jenny McCarthy may say that she has “no hard feelings” toward Barbara Walters, but based on her quotes in an upcoming book, it sure doesn’t sound like it.
On Wednesday, Vulture published an excerpt from reporter Ramin Setoodeh’s new book, Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of “The View,” in which McCarthy characterizes her short time on the ABC talk show as “miserable” and paints an extremely unflattering portrait of the legendary broadcaster who launched the show in 1997.
McCarthy, a television personality best known for her harmful and scientifically unsound stances on vaccinations and autism, was a co-host on “The View” from 2013 to 2014. She told Setoodeh that Walters yelled at her constantly, forced her to change her wardrobe on numerous occasions and once told her to deal with an unknown person’s tampon in a toilet.
The conflict between the two women appeared to start several years before McCarthy was a co-host on the show. She told Setoodeh that she was a guest on “The View” in 2007 to promote her book Louder Than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism, in which she argued that vaccines weakened her son’s immune system and sparked his autism. She also claimed in the book to have helped her son with a combination of a gluten-free diet, vitamins and behavioral therapy — a treatment plan that is not supported by any medical research.
Walters apparently did not share McCarthy’s beliefs about autism and confronted her backstage before the show.
“I walked into her dressing room and she blew up at me,” McCarthy told Setoodeh. “She was screaming, ‘How dare you say this! That autism can be cured?’ My knees were shaking. I remember my whole body was shaking.”
“You know the movie ‘Mommie Dearest’? I remember as a child watching that movie and going, ‘Holy cow!’” McCarthy told Setoodeh, referencing the biographical drama about actress Joan Crawford’s allegedly abusive relationship with her adopted daughter Christina Crawford. “I’ve never seen a woman yell like that before, until I worked with Barbara Walters,” McCarthy added.
HuffPost reached out to Walters, but she declined to comment.
McCarthy also shared stories about Walters criticizing her clothes. The 46-year-old actress estimated that she had to change her outfits about 50 times because of that scrutiny.
“We would all show up in the makeup room,” McCarthy told Setoodeh. “Barbara would check out what I was wearing. If she didn’t agree with it, or it didn’t complement her outfit, I had to change.”
McCarthy claimed that she “always had to go put on a sweater” — even though Walters, who is now 89, clearly liked some of the former Playboy model’s outfits.
“She wanted to start dressing like me,” McCarthy said. “There were times when she’d say change, and she’d make people run out and get that dress in her size. I was a human Barbie doll.”
As a result, McCarthy said she started developing tactics to avoid Walters’ wrath.
“When I’d hear the shuffle of her feet, I knew that Barbara was after me. It would get faster. Oh my God — she’s coming!” she told Setoodeh. “Based on the speed of the shuffle, I would hide or get on the phone.”
These maneuvers didn’t save her from one peculiar incident she recounted.
McCarthy claimed that one day Walters knocked on her dressing room door to express her disgust at spotting a tampon floating in a toilet in the communal bathroom.
McCarthy said she didn’t have her period at the time and it wasn’t hers, but this allegedly didn’t stop Walters from asking her to “do something about it!”
“I don’t know what to do,” McCathy recalled for Setoodeh. “She’s standing in the hallway where the guests are, yelling at me about a tampon. I don’t know. Maybe in her brain, she went, ‘I’m going to the youngest, newest person here, because obviously she has her period and left a tampon floating.’ This is Barbara Walters. I’m not going to yell at her. So finally I said, ‘I’ll take care of it. I’ll take one for the team and I’ll flush it.’”
Yet despite everything else she said, McCarthy said she felt bad for Walters when the veteran journalist left as co-host of “The View” in 2014 not long before McCarthy’s own departure, mostly she said because Walters didn’t seem to want to go.
“Look at what Barbara did to me. I had zero hard feelings. I loved her like a grandma. She didn’t know any better,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy doesn’t seem to have much affection for Whoopi Goldberg, another former “View” colleague, either.
To read the excerpt in full, head over to Vulture.