The one benefit of racism being exposed everywhere? You know exactly who to watch out for. Unfortunately, The View cohost Sunny Hostin had to learn this lesson the hard way.
The Huffington Post published a scathing report about Barbara Fedida, the ABC News senior vice president of talent and business affairs, detailing a history of racist behavior toward Black on-air talent and staffers. Hostin, who identifies as Afro-Latina, was one of her targets with Fedida allegedly referring to the attorney as “low rent.”
On Monday’s The View, Hostin revealed how she felt when she learned about the insulting comments.
“It was a tough weekend for me,” Hostin said, holding back tears. “And I was really disappointed and saddened and hurt when I learned about the racist comments that were made, allegedly, about me, my colleagues and my dear friends.”
The ABC News legal correspondent then detailed some of Fedida’s alleged remarks, repeating HuffPost’s report that Fedida, who is also the head of diversity and inclusion, “reference[d] Robin Roberts, who is one of the most respected and beloved journalists in our country, as ‘picking cotton.’ ”
Regarding Roberts, Fedida allegedly made the comment when Roberts was negotiating her contract for a raise, saying it wasn’t like the network was asking her to “pick cotton.”
Hostin continued that Fedida also “reference[d] me, someone who has been very open about growing up in public housing, as being ‘low rent,’ ” and said that “Kendis Gibson, who was my officemate at ABC and now is an MSNBC anchor,…isn’t worth paying as much as ABC would ‘pay for toilet paper.’ ”
“The fact that Mara Schiavocampo, who is a friend and former colleague at ABC, that she has an NDA in place and can’t talk about her experiences at ABC, tells me that systemic racism touches everything and everyone in our society, regardless of social stature,” she continued. “No one is immune. It’s the type of racism that Black people deal with every single day and it has to stop.”
ABC News issued a statement to ESSENCE, calling the allegations “deeply disturbing” and revealing that the network has placed Fedida on administrative leave while it conducts an investigation.
Still, many viewers don’t think ABC has gone far enough, calling for Fedida to be fired.
“I just look forward to changes, if all of this is true, here at ABC and just in our country,” Hostin said on her daytime talk show.
Fedida denied the allegations in a statement issued through her attorney to ABC News and HuffPost.