Ramin Setoodeh, author of Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View, released audio to Variety on Friday that he says was obtained during his book research. In it, the conservative television personality can be heard threatening to quit the daytime talk show backstage after an on-air debate went off the rails.
Setoodeh writes in his book that the incident occurred on Aug. 2, 2006, during a Hot Topics segment about a proposal from the Food and Drug Administration to offer the morning-after pill over the counter. Hasselbeck was fervent about the topic, and said the proposal was “the same thing as birthing a baby and leaving it out in the street.”
Yet, her passion was so intense, she didn’t allow co-hosts Barbara Walters and Joy Behar room to voice their opinions on the topic.
At a certain point, Walters got fed up.
“Elisabeth, calm down, dear,” the legendary broadcaster told Hasselbeck on-air. “We have to go on and we have to learn how to discuss these things in some sort of rational way.”
As the show cut to a commercial break, Hasselbeck was so infuriated by being scolded on live TV by Walters that the future “Fox & Friends” co-host ripped up her note cards.
“Fuck that!” Hasselbeck screamed backstage, according to the audio recording of the exchange, which can be heard above. “I’m not going to sit there and get reprimanded on the air. ... It’s not OK to sit there and get reprimanded on the air.”
Behar can be heard trying to calm down Hasselbeck by asking her to come into her office.
“I’m not going back out there,” Hasselbeck says, choking up. “I can take it in the meeting. I’m not taking it out there on-air. I’m not taking that!”
“What the fuck! 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. Goodbye! I’m off. Write about that in the New York fucking Post!”
Hasselbeck then retreated to the dressing room.
“Well, that’s ridiculous,” Walters said after hearing her co-host wanted to quit after the on-air exchange. “We’ve got to be able to have these discussions.”
Minutes before the commercial break was over, Bill Geddie, the executive producer at “The View,” coaxed Hasselbeck out of her dressing room.
“You have to go on because you’re a pro, so come with me,” Geddie pleaded, as the two raced back to the set.
Hasselbeck responded on Instagram Friday to Variety’s release of the clip.
In it, she says she “used bad words when frustrated.”
“I was pregnant with Taylor and a big conversation about the value and the lives of the unborn took place at the View. It was a battle -but not of the flesh. I used fighting words because I believe that God decides the value of the lives of babies.”
As for Setoodeh, he told Entertainment Tonight the recording was one of the more stunning things he found while writing his book.
“I was most surprised by the story of Elisabeth trying to quit during a commercial break because you can see that there were tensions on the show that I didn’t imagine,” Setoodeh told ET. “The tensions were so much that Elisabeth actually wanted to leave in the middle of the show one day.”