Mind you, I've never been a big fan of Star Jones and all her self-indulgence, but to be treated the way she was this week by her now former-boss at "The View", Barbara Walters, was not only downright wrong, but possibly racist.
On Tuesday, Star Jones of ABC’s television show “The View” announced that the network had decided not to renew her contract and that her nine-year tenure with the show would end by mid-July. On Wednesday’s telecast of “The View,” Star was — literally — nowhere to be found. Not only was she conspicuously absent from the host’s table, but also her name and picture had been removed from the introductory credits. Co-host Barbara Walters announced that Star was expected to announce her departure on Thursday’s show, not Wednesday’s, and that unexpected occurrence caused the network to determine that she should leave immediately. Later on Wednesday, People Magazine reported that Walters was also upset with Star because in an interview with People, Star had told the magazine that her contract had not been renewed, and that she felt like she had been fired. Walters claimed that these statements to People constituted “betrayal,” as Star was told that she could leave on her own terms, announcing any reason of her choosing for her departure — by which Walters apparently meant any reason other than the truth that she had been fired. Closing the loop, on a Thursday night telecast of “Larry King Live,” ABC took things further, publishing a long list of critiques of Star’s job performance — from claims that Star had wrongfully used her celebrity to obtain wedding services to contentions that Star had misrepresented the way in which she had lost large amounts of weight. It is difficult for me, and likely most people of color, not to wonder whether the abrupt dismissal of Star is motivated, at least in part, by race — if not the co-mingling of race and gender. Star served on “The View” for nine years; her contributions so significant that Walters herself acknowledged that she was indispensable to the show’s success.
While it was surely inappropriate for Star to announce her departure two days early without informing her boss beforehand, that indiscretion does not justify the abrupt and unceremonious cold shoulder she’s received since. First, her statement announcing her departure was highly dignified. She thanked Barbara and the show for the opportunity, discussed her love for the show and its co-hosts, and wished everyone well. Second, though she did announce that her contract had not been renewed, what’s the rub? Again, Star was told she could describe her departure on her own terms, and, moreover, she had never agreed to misrepresent the facts of her departure. Even more, the costs of truthful disclosure would seem to be experienced more by Star than the network: It’s more harmful to Star than ABC for the public to know her departure stems from the network’s perceptions of her performance.
And why would Walters go out of her way to hire an ugly woman, Rosie O'Donnell, who's done nothing but lambast and ridicule Star from afar while Jones serving as a co-host for 9 years helped to make "The View" so popular?