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Sunny Hostin Says ABC Censored Her New Memoir, Which Details Discrimination Allegations

Illustration for article titled Sunny Hostin Says ABC Censored Her New Memoir, Which Details Discrimination Allegations
Photo: Amy Sussman (Getty Images)
It's Lit!It's Lit!Where all things literary live at The Root

Did ABC execs insist on removing segments of The View co-host Sunny Hostin’s new memoir, I Am These Truths? As Hostin told Ronan Farrow in a candid conversation about her new book, which debuted today, September 22, yes, they did. The memoir, named in reference to the Constitution, apparently shares revealing insights about Hostin’s Afro-Latinx and impoverished upbringing, education, commitment to social justice and legal career, as well as issues of discrimination and pay equity. The latter placed the lawyer-turned TV personality-turned author in an awkward position when it came to telling the entire truth about her experiences on The View.

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“I write about The View, and I still work there,” she says. “I think it’s rare for someone to write about their employer truthfully and honestly while they still work there.”

As Hostin explained, the network requested that she remove some of the more indicting anecdotes she’d initially shared in her book. “I felt that I had been somewhat censored by ABC in writing the book,” she shares. “I did remove some passages...I think they were concerned about how my experiences made the network look.”

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Among those revelations was the fact that Hostin was perhaps the only one of The View’s co-host to receive no fanfare or formal introduction upon joining the cast of hosts. “I was just sort of guest-hosting and guest-hosting, and then, sort of...there,” she said.

“I think I was treated differently than a white woman would have been treated,” she continued. “I was given a dressing room on a different floor, and I noticed that other co-hosts that came on after I came on were given dressing rooms on the main floor with everyone else. And while that seems like a small thing, it’s those little indignities that make you feel and question whether or not you are being treated differently...And you wonder: ‘Am I being crazy? Am I being sensitive? Am I playing the race card?’”

“And so I decided that it felt wrong not to tell the truth,” Hostin added, noting that while her first-world issues may seem trivial in the context of current events, they reflect experiences too many of us are having.

“These are indignities I think that people of color deal with every single day in different scales,” she said, noting that privilege doesn’t preclude her from experiencing the same inequities as so many other women of color—and particularly, women of color (see: Black/Latinx/Indigenous Women’s Equal Pay Day), even when we’ve technically done “all the right things” to ensure upward mobility.

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“I do all the work, yet I am not treated the same way as other people. That needs to be told, that story,” says Hostin.

Refusing to be censored and fearing retaliation, Hostin hired an attorney to push back against ABC’s edits. After the book had already gone to print, an internal investigation at ABC revealed Hostin had, in her words, “been discriminated against,” as reported by Page Six:

Hostin said she hired a lawyer because she feared retaliation. It was revealed this year that former ABC SVP of talent Barbara Fedida allegedly once referred to Hostin as “low-rent.” Hostin said that she learned that Fedida had “discriminated against” her after the book was finished. “So I chose to write a foreword … My employer didn’t know I was doing that, but I did it and it felt good to do it,” Hostin said.

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“Rather than be angry, I was hurt,” Hostin told Farrow of learning the results of the six-month investigation, for which 34 witnesses were reportedly interviewed (as reported by the New York Times, Fedida was subsequently dismissed). She also reports receiving support and that her experience has prompted change at the network. Nevertheless, she says: “I was saddened because I realized that all those things that were going through my mind...I knew, at that moment, that I was right. And that made me incredibly sad.”

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, co-host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door...May I borrow some sugar?

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DISCUSSION

I find The View unwatchable, I’m not into daytime talk and The View is the model for turning what could be a reasoned, intelligent, thoughtful discussion of current events into a cat fight.  Sunny is too good for this and I hope she finds work that celebrates her integrity, honesty, intelligence and perspective.