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Abby Huntsman says she felt 'pressure' to be controversial before 'The View' exit

·4 min read

Abby Huntsman is diving into further detail about why she left her seat at "The View."

The former Fox News anchor joined the daytime talk show in 2018 and announced she was leaving in January 2020. At the time, she said she was leaving to help her father Jon Huntsman Jr. with his Utah gubernatorial campaign. In the first episode of her new podcast "I Wish Somebody Told Me," she confirmed she helped her dad after leaving, but also called the gig "a great out."

"I knew the show did not reflect my values, when I say that I mean rewarding people for bad behavior," Huntsman said on the podcast, released Thursday. "At that time there were executives in charge and that I did feel that we were kind of players in that game and it was about money and it was about ratings and the tabloids."

On Monday, she elaborated on the "pressure" she felt to be controversial on "The View" during a sit-down with current co-host Sara Haines on "The View: Behind the Table" podcast.

"Everything was about a soundbite and everything was, 'Who could say the most bombastic thing in the moment?' and that's not me," Huntsman, 35, said. "You need to make waves and headlines, and the only way to do that is to be more bombastic, to say things that were out there and sometimes a bit crazy."

Abby Huntsman details the "unbearable culture" she experienced while co-hosting "The View."
Abby Huntsman details the "unbearable culture" she experienced while co-hosting "The View."

Huntsman said she agreed to join "The View" because producers said she wouldn't "speak for a political party," but she said she quickly realized there were "expectations" for her to "fix in that box."

"I did feel trapped sometimes, because I felt like just to be me wasn't what the executives at the time always wanted," she said. "And I was not rewarded for being me."

Huntsman continued: "I was not rewarded for not being so out there. That was difficult because I went into news to be authentic, to be myself and to be truthful about all that and to give the viewers what I actually felt about things. So that was a really tough thing to realize pretty early on when I got there."

Huntsman told Haines that she would've been a better fit for talk show in its earlier days, as opposed to her tenure during Donald Trump's polarizing presidency.

"I actually think I would have been perfect on The View in 1998," she said. "I would have fit in because you know what, at that point, the show was more about the women and their lives and why they were different."

More: Abby Huntsman says leaving 'The View' was 'best decision' for her 'mental health,' 'happiness'

The television personality said last week that when she raised concerns about how she felt to show executives she was often met with a "blank stare" or comments about how "lucky" she was to be there. She said after nothing changed, she had to "save" her mental health.

"They wanted me to wait a month and I said 'I'm out of here Friday'," she told her "I Wish Somebody Told Me" co-host Lauren Leeds. "It was just an unbearable culture by the end."

A spokesperson for "The View" responded to Huntsman's allegations in a statement to USA TODAY on Oct. 28, noting she planned a return to the show.

"Twenty-two incredible women have had a seat on the panel and have worked in collaboration with the dedicated group of professionals on our staff. Abby will always remain a part of The View family and we look forward to continuing the conversation with her when she visits next month."

Other former "View" co-hosts Candace Cameron Bure and Meghan McCain, both of whom were also brought in to share conservative viewpoints, have also made claims of an unpleasant work environment.

Candace Cameron Bure, who was on "The View" from 2015 to 2016, said she felt "emotional stress" while on the show during a podcast episode in October. Meghan McCain, who left "The View" this year, said "the environment on the show is toxic" in her new Audible memoir "Bad Republican."

'Deeply humiliated and heartbroken': Meghan McCain decided to leave 'The View' after this on-air spat

Huntsman also said on her podcast that after she announced her departure, executives told her to make another statement to stop rumors she left because of a toxic work environment. The former co-host refused and said "that would just be lying."

"The View" began in 1997 with the goal of creating a roundtable of diverse women to discuss current events. It's seen a revolving door of co-hosts with both liberal and conservative points of view.

But moderator Whoopi Goldberg, who's been on the show since 2007, once said the show is not a reflection of reality.

"I am playing a role. These are not conversations that I’m having with my friends," the comedian said during a 2019 interview with The New York Times. "If they were, we’d be doing it differently. My friends and I can talk about things in-depth in a different way than you can on television."

Contributing: Cydney Henderson

Point of 'View': Whoopi Goldberg says 'The View' is not enough for her as an actress

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Abby Huntsman says she felt 'trapped' at 'The View' before exit

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