The titillating exposé of the show Barbara Walters built – depicting the doyenne of news as a cutthroat who would do anything to ensure her success – has done little but tarnish the ailing broadcaster’s stellar career, a close friend of the newscaster has told DailyMailTV.
The 89-year-old, who launched the hugely successful morning talk show The View in 1997, is celebrated for paving the way for other women in broadcast news.
But now, thanks to the new book Ladies Who Punch, Walters’ legacy is being ‘destroyed’ over claims she had her co-hosts living in fear, made them cry daily and dropped them from the show when she no longer had use for them.
In her bid to be a success, Walters could be ‘an absolute nightmare’ and would do ‘everything she could to get to the top and stay there,’ the close friend revealed.
For Walters, who is reported to have been in ill health in recent years, her ‘life came to an end’ after she retired in 2014, with her friend explaining: ‘While she’s still hanging in at almost 90, she can’t respond and hasn’t been seen in public since July 2016.
‘The Barbara Walters we all remember is no longer… the mystique behind her is now gone. This book shows her for who she is.’
The titillating exposé of the show Barbara Walters built – depicting the doyenne of news as a cutthroat who would do anything to ensure her success – has done little but tarnish the ailing broadcaster’s stellar career, a close friend of the newscaster has told DailyMailTV
But now, thanks to the new book Ladies Who Punch, Walters’ legacy is being ‘destroyed’ over claims she made her co-hosts live in fear, made them cry daily and dropped them from the show when she no longer had use for them
The exposé paints Walters as a ruthless co-worker, as she would openly ridicule the other women on the show, constantly make them cry and swear in frustration.
The friend told DailyMailTV: ‘For everyone who loved Barbara there were ten others who hated working with her.
‘Women all over America wanted to be like her, she paved the way for so many. There would be no Oprah, Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric or Savannah Guthrie if there wasn’t a Barbara Walters.
‘But to get to where Barbara got to, she had to be aggressive, she had to be political and she had to play games.’
Jenny McCarthy and Sherri Shepherd recounted their experiences with Walters to author Ramin Setoodeh, describing their interactions in less than glowing reviews.
The book refers to an incident where Elisabeth Hasslebeck stormed off set during filming of a 2006 segment and refused to return after she and Walters got into a heated argument about birth control.
‘F*** that! I’m not going to sit there and get reprimanded on the air. I am not going to get reprimanded. No, it’s not okay to sit there and get reprimanded on the air,’ Hasselbeck can be heard saying in the audio tape.
‘What the f***! I’m not going back out there. I’m not going back out there.
‘I don’t even swear. She has me swearing. This woman is driving me nuts. I’m not going back. I can’t do the show like this.
‘She just reprimanded me, and she knew exactly what she was doing. Good-bye! I’m off. Write about that in the New York f***ing Post.’
Elisabeth Hasslebeck (right) stormed off set during filming of a 2006 segment and refused to return after she and Walters got into a heated argument about birth control
‘But to get to where Barbara got to, she had to be aggressive, she had to be political and she had to play games,’ her friend said. Pictured: The original hosts of The View (l-r) Star Jones, Joy Behar, Meredith Vieira, Debbie Matenopoulos and Walters in 1997
The feud erupted during a segment on the FDA considering a possible ban of the morning after pill, a move that Hasselbeck was largely in favor of, saying at one point that it was ‘the same thing as birthing a baby and leaving it out in the street.’
An exasperated Walters seemed to set Hasselbeck off as she went to throw to commercial while chiding the young co-host.
‘Could you stop now?’ asked Walters. ‘We have to go on and we have to learn how to discuss these things in some sort of way.’
Walters sparred with Whoopi Goldberg in her final days of the show, wanting to moderate the debates, but Whoopi wouldn’t give the job up.
In turn, Walters would complain about Whoopi’s performance to The View staffers, which would set Whoopi off and she would frequently cut off her co-hosts in a bid to flex her muscles.
Meanwhile, Sherri Shepherd revealed she cried for ‘three years straight’ when she first joined The View in 2007.
‘I had a very tough taskmaster, who I love her to death,’ Shepherd told Entertainment Tonight, before revealing she was referring to Walters.
‘But Barbara Walters was so tough on the people that she loved and she helped me find my voice,’ she added.
Jenny McCarthy also admitted she was ‘miserable’ during her short stint as co-host from 2013- 2014 and that she would go to work every morning in tears.
McCarthy confessed that working with Walters wasn’t easy.
‘You know the movie Mommie Dearest? I remember as a child watching that movie and going, ”Holy cow!” I’ve never seen a woman yell like that before until I worked with Barbara Walters.’
Jenny McCarthy said she was ‘miserable’ during her stint as co-host from 2013- 2014 and that she would go to work in the morning crying. McCarthy claimed Walters accused her of trying to flush a tampon down the toilet. Sherri Shepherd said Walters was ‘a very tough taskmaster’
The friend added: ‘When her retirement was announced, she was personally mortified and would argue with people that she hadn’t retired. It was clear to everyone except Barbara that her career was done.’ Pictured: Walters on her final day on The View in 2014
McCarthy claimed that Walters once accused her of trying to flush a tampon down the toilet, saying the host came to her dressing room visibly upset.
‘Jenny, there’s a tampon floating in the toilet and it’s disgusting,’ Walters reportedly said.
‘I don’t have my period. It’s not mine,’ McCarthy responded.
‘Do something about it!’ Walters yelled, according to McCarthy, who said she eventually went into the bathroom and flushed the tampon.
‘Finally I said, “I’ll take care of it. I’ll take one for the team and I’ll flush it.”‘
McCarthy said there were at least 50 times when Walters would even ask her to change her clothes before they went on air.
‘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 recalled in Ladies Who Punch.
McCarthy also claims that before she was a co-host, she went on the talk show to promote her first book and Barbara came in her dressing room and screamed at her for seven minutes about her belief that autism can be cured.
‘One of my heroes just chewed me a new a**hole’, Jenny reported.
Five years later and back promoting another book, Barbara had no recollection that Jenny had been there before.
Jenny said: ‘She was hugging me, loving on me. I was, like, ”this is the craziest f***ing s**t I’ve ever experienced”.’
Star Jones believes that Walters, along with Joy Behar, leaked to the press that she had a undergone gastric bypass surgery, while Jones had been maintaining she lost the weight due to dieting.
The friend said: ‘For everyone who loved Barbara there were ten others who hated working with her. Women all over America wanted to be like her, she paved the way for so many. There would be no Oprah, Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric or Savannah Guthrie if there wasn’t a Barbara Walters.’ Pictured: Walters with Prime Minister of Israel Yitzhak Rabin in 1977
The friend pointed to an interview the late gossip columnist Liz Smith did with the Hollywood Reporter in 2015, saying the writer’s thoughts ‘summed it up’. Smith said that after she lost her column, Walters ‘lost interest in me’. Pictured: Smith and Walters in 1998
The source added: ‘This book has ripped the lid off… It shows that Barbara was happy to discard co-hosts when she’d had enough, she’d lie to the public and she behaved in a way that shouldn’t be tolerated in corporate America.
‘Barbara used you when she needed to and then she’d discard you.’
The friend pointed to an interview the late gossip columnist Liz Smith did with the
When asked if she kept in touch with Walters, Smith responded: ‘Well, it turns out Barbara Walters can do without me, though I still consider her a friend. She has done so much for me through the years.
‘But when I lost my column and my power, she kind of lost interest in me. When we run into each other now, she loves me; she’s always saying, ”Let’s get together,” blah, blah, blah. But I rarely hear from her now. That’s OK.’
The friend added to DailyMailTV: ‘When her retirement was announced, she was personally mortified and would argue with people that she hadn’t retired. It was clear to everyone except Barbara that her career was done.’
‘What’s sad is that when the camera lights were turned off this is when her life came to end. Cindi Berger [Barbara’s publicist] will lie to the press and say that Barbara is fine, but she’s not.’