Right hand to God, I honestly didn’t plan on writing about Jenny McCarthy two days in a row. For some reason she’s a hot topic again, and not because we’re in the middle of yet another measles outbreak, which is the only reason Jenny McCarthy should ever be trending. Is there a recurrence of easily preventable diseases? Roll the big dumb face!
Anyway, this time around, McCarthy is making headlines for taking an incredibly long and unyielding dump on Barbara Walters in the upcoming book Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of “The View” by Ramin Setoodeh. Turns out, the veteran newswoman and a Playmate who used to make fart noises on Singled Out didn’t quite click. Life is a mystery.
Here’s the thing though. Vulture ran an excerpt of McCarthy’s time on The View, and I’m not going to lie, it is some tea. Obviously, the show is a goddamn hotbed of behind-the-scenes drama, and there have always been unconfirmed reports that Walters was suffering from early on-set dementia towards the end, which only makes things even more of a clusterf*ck. Over the holidays, my grandmother started spiraling further into dementia, and it’s a frustrating ordeal on top of being heartbreaking as hell. Throw the full weight of being Barbara Walters into that mix — along with a network that’s willing to plop her in front of catfights for ratings — and you got yourself a powder keg that I will apparently read the sh*t out of because I’m dead inside. (True story, I ate Arby’s for the first time in years after reading the Vulture excerpt, and I’m pretty sure that was a cry for help.)
Now, the annoying part about Setoodeh’s book is that he seems to be way too content with letting McCarthy toss out some questionable anecdotes without ever once challenging them. For example, her account of the first time she met Walters when McCarthy was just a guest on The View.
“I walked into her dressing room and she blew up at me,” Jenny said. “She was screaming, ‘How dare you say this! That autism can be cured?’ My knees were shaking. I remember my whole body was shaking.”
Jenny responded that she never used the word cured to describe Evan’s condition. That didn’t matter. “You’re such a liar!” Barbara screamed.
“This lasted for about seven minutes,” Jenny said. “Finally, someone pulled me out of the room. I went back to my dressing room, not knowing what the fuck to do. One of my heroes just chewed me a new asshole, and I’m going on live TV. I’m freaking the fuck out.” The producer told her that Barbara didn’t want Jenny to walk onto the set as a guest because that would prompt the audience to clap. Instead, the interview began with Jenny on the couch, wedged between the ladies, with the camera on Barbara for an introduction.
Granted, McCarthy has never actually said her son was “cured” of autism. Instead, what she said in a CNN op-ed co-written by Jim Carrey is that her son “recovered” from autism that was triggered by vaccines. And there’s the goddammit part. While McCarthy is careful not to say “cured,” her reasoning is because she’ll never know what her child would’ve been like if he wasn’t “injured” by vaccines. Yeah…
Jump to 2013, where McCarthy is being offered a spot on The View as the show tries to pivot away from politics. Keep in mind, Jenny McCarthy is synonymous with the anti-vaxxer movement at this point, so it really shouldn’t have come as a surprise that people were not thrilled that she’d have a platform on The View, where she could feasibly do even more damage. It also shouldn’t come as a surprise that McCarthy accused Big Pharma of… bribing TV critics?
Jenny believed that the hostility toward her originated from a lobbying group that wanted to silence her. “I had to deal with a hurricane, a tornado. I consider myself to be pro-vaccine, but pro-safe vaccine. There’s another group, they go out and try to get me fired from every job I’ve ever done. They are invisible but powerful.”
Geddie tried to assure her that it didn’t matter, that there was no such thing as bad publicity. Jenny wasn’t so sure: “I knew way up on the totem pole, it would bother somebody, because Big Pharma is pretty powerful. If they told ABC they were going to pull some of their advertising, I could very well lose my job. I was a nervous wreck. I just let go of my own talk show in Chicago. I had signed a one-year contract with The View. Now I’m dealing with all this bad publicity and I have to feed my baby.”
Again, Setoodeh just lets those comments go, but we’re also talking about a writer who once argued that gay actors can’t convincingly play straight characters, so that’s putting a lot of pieces into place. (h/t Kayleigh) That said, I especially enjoyed the part where producers on The View admitted that 30 percent of their ratings left with Elisabeth Hasselbeck, which blew everyone’s mind and is only further evidence that god is dead. So in a mad scramble, McCarthy was asked to pivot to politics and essentially become the new Hasselbeck.
She couldn’t do it.
Jenny McCarthy — the Jenny McCarthy — couldn’t bring herself to become Elisabeth Hasselbeck. That’s a spicy meatball.
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