'Ted Lasso' gets corrupted by Mitt Romney and Kyrsten Sinema's Halloween charade

With Halloween a few days away, Capitol Hill is getting spooky.

On Thursday, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney tweeted photos of him and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema dressed as fan-favorite characters Ted Lasso and Rebecca Welton from the Apple TV+ hit "Ted Lasso." Ted is played by Jason Sudeikis with an iconic mustache, and Rebecca is played by Hannah Waddingham, who often dons stylish, fitted dresses and high heels.

The photos Romney shared recreate a classic Ted and Rebecca tradition, of Ted bringing freshly baked shortbread cookies to Rebecca each morning.

In the Emmy-winning comedy, Kansas native Ted is a famous American college football coach who moves to London to coach the AFC Richmond football club, which Rebecca owns. Since American football and the sport the rest of the world calls football is vastly different, it's clear that his selection is unexpected to say the least.

It turns out that Rebecca chose Ted to deliberately try and sabotage the team, which once belonged to her philandering ex-husband. Therefore, she has no interest in seeing Ted succeed, let alone building a friendship with him – but somewhere between morning biscuit dropoffs and emotionally vulnerable conversations, the two build a deep, almost familial friendship. And for all Ted and Rebecca's problems, like Ted's compulsive need to be liked, as the Season 2 team therapist Dr. Sharon Fieldstone (Sarah Niles) points out, or Rebecca's mean-spirited reasons for hiring Ted, both have become widely beloved characters on a show that's famous for its prevailing niceness and positivity.

It's all just very nice, which is why Romney and Sinema's cosplaying raised a few eyebrows.

One of the posts is a GIF of Romney as Ted proferring Sinema, in the role of Rebecca, a box of the signature biscuits. In another post, he shares a still photo of him handing her the box. "Biscuits with the boss," he writes, and captions the follow-up tweet, "She's one tough cookie."

In another tweeted GIF, the mustachioed Romney tapping the yellow hand-lettered "BELIEVE" sign, mimicking the inspirational message that of Coach Lasso hangs above his doorway.

"If you believe in yourself, and have clear eyes and full hearts — you can't lose," he captions the post, paraphrasing another sports-centric series, "Friday Night Lights."

And in yet another tweet, Romney tags Sudeikis directly, posing in Ted's signature coaching attire with a soccer ball in one hand. "After 10 years, I'm finally returning the favor. How was my @TedLasso, @JasonSudeikis?" he writes.

The irony of Romney and Sinema posing as Ted and Rebecca hasn't been lost on their critics on social media. The exchange is tantamount to two of the most controversial members of Congress cosplaying as, well, nice people. (They aren't nice people.)

Romney, after all, is most famous for bucking his party to vote to impeach former President Trump during Trump's first impeachment trial, only to go on to support nearly all of Trump's agenda, including confirming his nightmarish Supreme Court and judicial nominees.

Sinema, on the other hand, has been in the news more lately, most notably for derailing nearly all of President Biden and the Democratic party's agenda. Sinema has opposed minimum wage increases, climate change action, and ending the filibuster, which is key to almost any progressive policy change. The Arizona senator is increasingly cozying up to Republicans like Romney as a result.

The irony of their supposed, feel-good, "across the aisle" friendship is that Romney's own policy stances could have Sinema, who is openly bisexual, removed from her job. "A reminder that Mitt Romney's public position is that it should be legal for Kyrsten Sinema to be fired from a job for being bisexual," one user tweeted.

"It's nice to see two people from two different parties come together over their mutual disdain for the poor and love for lining their own pockets," another wrote.

Arguably in some ways, Romney and Sinema reflect the worst traits of the characters they're dressed as. There's Romney's almost compulsive need to be liked by everyone, from anti-Trump Republicans and some liberals, as demonstrated by his pro-impeachment vote, to the most intolerant wings of the Republican party, as demonstrated by nearly all his policy stances.

And as for Sinema, you'll recall how Rebecca spent the entire first season of "Ted Lasso" sabotaging her own team. Well, Sinema, in real life, has spent the past year sabotaging her own political party.

Meghan McCain is still milking 'The View' -- plus more revealing moments from her late-night interview

Since Megan McCain aired her many grievances with "The View" in a newly released excerpt from her forthcoming audio memoir, the "Bad Republican" author is making it clear she stands by her words.

She's since been making the rounds to promote her book, and this included an an appearance on Wednesday's "Watch What Happens Live." Host Andy Cohen mostly provided McCain and her friend and CNN contributor S.E. Cupp, with a safe space to complain about being bullied for holding harmful views — but at different points, he challenged McCain on her own inconsistencies, and exhibiting the same behaviors and opportunism she accused others at "The View" of.

At no point does Cohen ask the question we've all wanted to ask McCain, namely that, if she has the right to espouse racist, ignorant and generally deeply harmful views, do people not have the right to dislike her for this? Nonetheless, the interview does deliver a number of revealing insights — between McCain's usual bouts of self-pitying, of course.

Salon breaks done some of those more revealing moments below:

"On a 1-to-10 scale, how hypocritical" is McCain's memoir?

At one rather uncomfortable point in the interview, Cohen asks McCain point-blank, "On a 1-to-10 scale, how hypocritical is it that you wrote a tell-all after prefacing every tell-all interview on 'The View' with 'I hate tell-alls?'"

It's a fair question, even if it might have surprised McCain. Political memoir authors were often guests at "The View," and McCain nearly always had words for them, accusing them of just trying to get a paycheck. In particular, McCain had viciously sparred with Mary Trump, author of a tell-all memoir about her uncle, former President Donald Trump, which became a bestseller and rocked the political media.

"You know, those are political tell-alls," she responds, which . . . doesn't exactly distinguish her memoir at all from these, and certainly ignores how McCain herself is a political media figure, whether she wants to see herself that way or not. The title of her book is quite literally "Bad Republican," and she can't go two sentences without name-dropping her father, the late Sen. John McCain. When Cohen follows up on his question about whether McCain sees her own hypocrisy, she replies, "I don't, but it's OK if other people do. I don't really care."

No, McCain hasn't been cut off by everyone at "The View"

One fan calls into "Watch What Happens Live" to ask McCain about whether the rumors that "The View" workers have been instructed not to contact her are true. McCain insists they aren't, and she continues to have contact and relationships with some of her co-hosts as well as crew members.

"If it's true, they're doing a terrible job because my hair and makeup people work at 'The View,' I use their stylist still, and I still talk to a lot of the hosts including Sunny [Hostin]," McCain says.

As for her relationships with Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg, who McCain had particularly called out for their harsh on-air interactions with her on "The View," McCain says, "I think this stuff has been blown up . . . I adore Whoopi. She's an American icon. I have more love for her than anything else. I just wanted to explain myself and the things that happen."

McCain and her memoir, of course, are a big part of why these conflicts have been "blown up."

McCain can hold a grudge

Years after her father's funeral, McCain is still pissed about Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner "crashing" it. It's a fair sentiment, but it was surprising to see how fresh McCain's anger is toward the couple.

"They had no goddamn business being there and it still angers me, clearly," she says, owing to her family's long-running conflict with the Trumps because of the former president's penchant for criticizing and bullying her father.

McCain also talks about finding solace in Trump's electoral loss in Arizona in 2020, meaning "all is well now" — despite, of course, how her own husband says that McCain herself didn't vote for Biden in Arizona.

Speaking of hypocrisy, is "Bad Republican" pro-women?

McCain wants to convince audiences her book isn't like other tell-all books that trash former friends and colleagues in political media. McCain's friend, Cupp, cites Katie Couric's memoir as an example of supposedly attacking other women, prompting Cohen to turn to McCain and ask how her memoir is any different."

Do you think your book could be looked at as not pro-women?" Cohen asks. McCain responds with a question of her own: "Is it pro-women to work in an environment where, because you have a different political opinion, you are leaked about every day?" McCain shot back, not exactly answering the question.

At this point, it's difficult to discern any value in interviewing McCain further, who's clearly unwilling to consider her own double standards applied toward herself and others. As she almost rightly points out, being "pro-women" isn't about being unilaterally nice to everyone or to all institutions just because they are or are led by women, and being critical of everyone and everything that warrants criticism.

In McCain's case, she drags the names of her co-hosts through the mud for supposedly bullying her, without the context of the views she holds and the words she said that warranted these challenges from other ladies at "The View." But in more simple terms, as McCain sees it, she and she alone can be "pro-women" and attack other women. Any other woman who does this is just trying to sell a memoir.

Surprising bonds with and respect for Rachel Maddow, Hillary Clinton

In a true testament to McCain's identity as a "Bad Republican," she has only kind words to say about some of the more liberal public figures who are women. For one, she calls MSNBC host Rachel Maddowa "broadcasting genius" and "one of the greatest ever."

Of former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, McCain discloses that the two have actually *gasp* had dinner together now that she has a newfound respect for the former First Lady.

"I was very judgmental of Hillary Clinton before I was on 'The View,' and I regret it. I feel like once you're a woman in media and you feel the egregious sexism, I related to her in a different way," she says. "There are some things I've said that I would definitely take back."

Meghan McCain isn’t the champion of pregnant people her book claims she is

Since Meghan McCain left her co-hosting duties at "The View" this past summer, we all knew this day was coming: the announcement of a tell-all audio book, with its first excerpt dropping Tuesday in Variety. In the excerpt, McCain's lack of self-awareness and self-victimization remain as intense and fresh as ever, as she opens by subjecting readers to her latest round of white tears.

McCain launches into petty rants about how rude and terrible everyone at "The View" was to her, at no point considering the angle that having horrible views necessarily invites people to not like you. It's really not complicated, although McCain tries to make it so by invoking her experiences with postpartum anxiety and mental health struggles.

Shortly after McCain returned to "The View" from maternity leave, co-host Joy Behar said she hadn't missed McCain at all and later declined to apologize. After that, McCain claims she wept and "no longer felt safe working at 'The View.'"

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She says, "It was a perfect storm of hormones, postpartum anxiety and a lot of demons on 'The View' coming out to bite me."

McCain probably intended to make her postpartum mental health struggles the focus of this excerpt of her book. But it comes out instead as a self-pitying rant about being bullied for being conservative, and utilizes the same sort of targeted, bad-faith gossip that she claims to condemn throughout the excerpt.

We can all sympathize with McCain's postpartum struggles, and appreciate her newly declared, common sense support for paid family leave for all people. But this is still the same Meghan McCain who's said and done all of the things she's said and done, like her out-of-touch attacks on NBA players who spoke out against police violence, or, of course, her obsession with spreading dangerous, anti-abortion misinformation, equating abortion care with infanticide.

Who can forget when McCain's co-host Sunny Hostin spoke in support of abortion later in pregnancy, a common medical procedure that can sometimes arise out of extreme health circumstances, McCain accused her of supporting "infanticide" and babies "born from a botched abortion should be put down like a dog or a cat?!"

Despite McCain's quickness to make herself the victim-hero of her own narrative, we can't forget she remains a wealthy, white woman who's spoken out against abortion and the full spectrum of reproductive care time and again. To her credit, McCain acknowledges her privilege, and that she can't "imagine what it's like for women who are less privileged than I am, women who work minimum wage jobs, and single mothers struggling to make ends meet," who may struggle with postpartum mental health issues.

But that appears to be mere lip service. She doesn't at any point consider how the need for universally accessible postpartum care is inextricable from the need for full-spectrum reproductive care that includes abortion and birth control. Specifically, research has shown that in states that enact more restrictions on abortion, often resulting in shutdowns or defunding of reproductive health clinics, maternal and infant mortality rates are disproportionately higher.

The United States as a whole has the highest maternal mortality rates in the industrialized world, a first place finish that is hardly ever acknowledged. And of course, Black women and other women of color are significantly more vulnerable than white women.

McCain's attacks on abortion and other pregnancy-related health care options are inseparable from a greater culture and political landscape that dehumanizes pregnant people, takes away their options, and subjects them to threats to their physical or mental health and safety. Her penchant for racist ignorance — at varying points writing off conversations about inclusivity and Asian communities as "identity politics," and earlier this year blaming Black Lives Matter protesters for the Jan. 6 insurrection — is also inseparable from conversations about how we treat pregnancy in America.

Because of systemic racism, women of color are more likely to be the "women who work minimum wage jobs, and single mothers struggling to make ends meet," whom McCain briefly references in her book. They're more likely to struggle with postpartum mental health challenges, those same issues that McCain has experienced – with the added dimensions of experiencing economic insecurity and lack of access to essential postpartum health care, possibly as a result of policies that defund or create barriers to this care, which McCain has consistently supported.

At the end of the day, we can be appreciative of McCain sharing her personal experiences with postpartum anxiety and her support for paid family leave. But we can't take her book, and its relentless self-pitying about being a rich, white conservative woman who wants to advocate for marginalized people losing their rights, all while no one can be rude to her, at face value.

For all her personal struggles, McCain has been a part of the very problems she complains about by opposing full-spectrum pregnancy and reproductive care, frequently parroting racist talking points, and falling back on white tears whenever she's challenged about it. If you want to lift up the voices of real advocates for pregnant people and new parents, there are plenty of other, more consistent and intersectional voices we should all be listening to instead.

Dave Chappelle and the warped self-victimhood of transphobes

By now you've likely heard of the controversy surrounding comedian Dave Chappelle's latest Netflix comedy special, "The Closer," and take it from us: there's no need to give the hateful stand-up set another view.

Throughout the not-so-comedic comedy special, Chappelle calls the "white" women who ushered in #MeToo "annoying as f**k," and seemingly blames them for Harvey Weinstein's abuses. But the bulk of the special, and the main subject of criticism and protest, is the comedian's focus on punching down at queer and trans people.

Among other horrific comments, including proudly referencing a time he beat up a lesbian woman he perceived as a man, Chappelle declares, "I'm team TERF," referring to trans-exclusionary radical feminists, who don't recognize trans women as "real" women. He makes a number of degrading and invasive jokes about trans women's genitals, and goes to bat for J.K. Rowling, the rabidly transphobic "Harry Potter" author who's lost a sizable following after repeatedly attacking and claiming to be victimized by trans women.

At another point, Chappelle expresses jealousy about his perception that LGBTQ people have made more progress than Black people, because a white gay man once called the police on him at a bar. He begs LGBTQ people to "free" DaBaby and Kevin Hart, as if these men are being unfairly held hostage for the truly horrific comments both have made about queer people. Last we checked, DaBaby just recorded a track on Kanye West's new album, and Hart has several movies coming out in 2022 alone. They're hardly suffering.

But perhaps the most jarring bit from the special is Chappelle's reference to a trans woman named Daphne Dorman, who staunchly defended his transphobia. The audience gasps when Chappelle reveals Dorman killed herself in 2019, and he shockingly seems to insinuate her suicide is the fault of trans people for not accepting her after she defended Chappelle.

"I don't know what the trans community did for her," he says, "but I don't care, because I feel like she wasn't their tribe. She was mine. She was a comedian in her soul." And now, because Chappelle reveals he's since set up a college fund for Dorman's daughter, he's not transphobic, period.

Chappelle ultimately concludes by claiming he'll quit his jokes about queer people.

"I'm done talking about it," he says. "All I ask of your community, with all humility: Will you please stop punching down on my people?"

It seems that he sees himself and others like him as victims of queer people, whom he codes as exclusively white, while erasing the many queer and trans people of color who exist. The crux of the problem — among many — with Chappelle's special is his overall equation of the women and survivors of #MeToo, and gay and trans people broadly, as white. Therefore, as he regards queer identity and womanhood as mutually exclusive from being a person of color, he sees his degrading, bullying jokes as punching up rather than down.

It should go without saying that there are consequences to irresponsibly spreading these ideas. LGBTQ folks and especially trans people of color are routinely harassed, assaulted, and killed — last year was the deadliest year on record for trans people. Yet, following Chappelle's logic, he and other unrepentant bigots are the real victims of trans people and activists who merely want their gender identities to be acknowledged and treated with respect.

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Chappelle's line of thinking is unfortunately part of a larger trend of men who don't want to seem overtly bigoted, and thus justify their homophobia, transphobia and misogyny by flippantly sticking "white" in front of whoever they're mocking, when they're actually attacking all queer people and women indiscriminately. The coded whiteness of Chappelle's female, LGBTQ boogeymen co-opts legitimate, progressive concerns about white supremacy, and frames women and queer folks as the real persecutors from whom everyone else needs protection.

Who's amplifying Chappelle's voice

We already knew about Chappelle's bigotry, thanks to his previous comedy specials. But what's stopped him from merely being bigoted in private and enabled him to publicly bully trans people is the massive, worldwide platform he's received. Netflix is one of the most popular streaming services in the world, as we've seen from the unprecedented global success of the South Korean-produced series "Squid Game."

The streamer encompasses all genres and programming, from reality shows and cheesy Hallmark-style movies to children's programming and gripping dramas. Netflix is also home to a commendable amount of groundbreaking, inclusive stories – such as "Orange Is the New Black," "Sense8" and "Dear White People" – starring and made by LGBTQ actors, writers and creators, whom the streaming service has now thrown under the bus by hosting "The Closer."

At this time of surging, anti-trans violence and the proliferation of bills in state legislatures that attempt to write trans people and especially trans youth out of existence, Netflix has chosen to platform and promote Chappelle's bigotry, despite outwardly pretending to support LGBTQ people. There's something for everyone on Netflix, which even targets all of these different marginalized identities with its array of social media accounts, such as Strong Black Lead, Most (its queer Twitter) and Con Todo (its Spanglish Twitter). But when Netflix aims at appealing to everyone, they mean everyone, including bigots.

This forced coexistence of bigots and the queer and trans creators on Netflix can only come at the expense of the latter. Jaclyn Moore, the executive producer of Netflix's smash hit "Dear White People" and a trans woman, has since responded to Netflix's streaming of "The Closer" by stating her intent to sever ties with the streamer.

"I love so many of the people I've worked with at Netflix. Brilliant people and executives who have been collaborative and fought for important art . . ." Moore, who shared the story of her transition on Netflix's LGBTQ Twitter account. "But I've been thrown against walls because, 'I'm not a 'real' woman.' I've had beer bottles thrown at me. So, @Netflix, I'm done."

The other vocal transphobes

When comedians and otherwise famous, bigoted people set up trans women and advocates as their oppressors, this is the violence they feed. Even when anti-trans bigots doesn't overtly paint trans women as violent, bathroom-terrorizing perverts, at the very least, they insist that basic demands for respect and recognition for trans people are an oppressive inconvenience.

On Wednesday, novelist and playwright Joyce Carol Oates posted a string of tweets complaining about the use of they/them as singular pronouns, and declaring they'll never "become a part of general usage." Her complaints were supposedly for grammatical reasons, but Oates' subsequent defenses of her tweets were rife with self-victimhood, as if adapting to changing language norms is somehow oppression on par with being attacked and killed for your gender identity.

Oates' tweets have since sparked a wave of backlash and justifiably outraged responses from trans folks and advocates: "Can cis folks just leave us alone for a day? One day, that's all I ask. Would that be possible?"

At roughly the same time as this controversy, The Guardian UK has also come under fire for an op-ed that appears to blame the police killing of Sarah Everard in London this year on the need for more gender-segregated spaces, where trans women would not be welcome. The suggestion here isn't exactly subtle — following this logic, violence against cis women is a result of trans inclusivity. The offensive article comes after just last month, The Guardian UK was accused of covering for transphobes, as it deleted numerous paragraphs and quotes from an interview with gender theorist Judith Butler. In the deleted quotes, Butler unabashedly condemns TERFs and transphobia against trans women.

The devotion of Chappelle's comedy special to his and other bigoted people's imagined victimhood by trans people is part and parcel with the other aforementioned controversies around the "threat" of trans women. All are rooted in the pretense that transphobes are a noble people, protecting comedians from perceived cancellation, cis women from violence, and language from inconvenient change to be inclusive. Beneath all of these overt lies and obfuscations, it's not washed-up, entitled and bigoted male comics who need safety and protection, but the trans people they mock.

LeVar Burton could get his own game show — involving his love of books

As the long and much-publicized saga of the search for a new full-time "Jeopardy!" host continues, it looks like fan-favorite LeVar Burton might have dodged a bullet. And it sounds like he might even agree.

This article originally appeared at Salon.

In an interview with Trevor Noah on "The Daily Show" on Thursday, Burton revealed he has his sights set on a better fit than the "Jeopardy!" host position.

Since the search for a replacement for the late, great Alex Trebek began last November, Burton, who formerly hosted "Reading Rainbow," emerged as a leading fan pick, propelled by his legions of loyal followers. A change.org petition for Burton to succeed Trebek has more than 300,000 signatures.

"I discovered then that the generation of adults now, who grew up on 'Reading Rainbow' — they were down with whatever it is I wanted to do, and the same was true with this 'Jeopardy!' thing," Burton told Noah. "I made it public that I wanted it for myself, that it made sense to me, and they were all about it. It made as much sense to them as it did to me. And, so, they wanted it for me as much as I wanted it."

Of course, for reasons unknown, the "Jeopardy!" search committee, which included Mike Richards, had other plans, initially selecting Richards and actress Mayim Bialik as co-hosts. The show has since been mired in scandal over choosing Richards, when previous lawsuits against Richards and sexist, racist comments he made on a 2014 podcast came to light.

Richards parted ways with the show, but Burton made it clear to Noah that he's no longer interested in being considered.

"The crazy thing is that when you set your sights on something, you know, they say be careful of what you wish for, because what I found out is that it wasn't the thing that I wanted after all," Burton explained. "What I wanted was to compete. I mean, I wanted the job, right, but then, when I didn't get it, it was, like, well, okay, what's next?"

Since not being chosen by "Jeopardy!," Burton revealed he's received numerous "opportunities that have come my way as a result of not getting that gig" — opportunities that he "couldn't have dreamt up."

"If you had given me a pen and paper and said, 'Well, so what do you want this to really look like?' If it doesn't include 'Jeopardy!' I wouldn't have been this generous to myself," he said.

In other words, as Noah put it, for Burton, "Jeopardy!" was really just "the shipwreck that leads you to the magical island."

When Noah then suggested Burton start his own game show, the "Star Trek: Next Generation" star – who produces his own podcast "LeVar Burton Reads" – seemed open to this idea. "There's got to be some sort of game show in and around books. There's got to be something in that world," said Noah.

"We are working on creating exactly what that is," said Burton. "I never thought about hosting any other game show outside of 'Jeopardy!.' But now, they went in a different direction with their show, which is their right, and now I'm thinking, well, it does kind of make sense, let me see what I can do. So we're trying to figure out what the right game show for LeVar Burton would be."

This week, "Jeopardy!" announced that as it continues its search for a full-time co-host for Bialik, Ken Jennings, a former contestant and the guest host who received the highest ratings this past season, will co-host on an interim basis through the rest of 2021. The trivia show clearly has a lot to figure out these days — but Burton, on the other hand, sounds like he's exactly where he needs to be.

You can watch Burton's full "Daily Show" interview with Trevor Noah below.

LeVar Burton - Growing Up Reading & His Dreams of Hosting “Jeopardy!” | The Daily Show www.youtube.com

'The Activist' implosion: How a reality show working for greater good became a capitalist nightmare

Only a week after CBS announced its new reality competition series "The Activist," the network is overhauling it after massive backlash, Variety reported.

In its original incarnation, the show pit six activists against each other for funding – much like a demented version of "Shark Tank." The head-scratching trio of Usher, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and "Dancing With the Stars" alum Julianne Hough were named as the celebrity hosts.

Frankly, the show was doomed from the start. Following an onslaught of criticism directed at the show's tone-deaf premise of making activists and their respective causes compete against each other, Variety reported on Wednesday evening that the competition show will be restructured as a documentary special instead.

How did we get to this point? Salon unpacks the public outcry and the behind-the-scenes drama that led to a show having to rejigger its entire format a month before it premeires.

The origins of "The Activist"

The controversial concept for the series was actually originally announced in May. A press release written up by Deadline includes the details:

The Activist is a competition series that features six inspiring activists teamed with three high-profile public figures working together to bring meaningful change to one of three vitally important world causes: health, education and environment.
Activists go head-to-head in challenges to promote their causes, with their success measured via online engagement, social metrics and hosts' input. The three teams have one ultimate goal: to create impactful movements that amplify their message, drive action, and advance them to the G20 Summit in Rome, Italy. There, they will meet with world leaders in the hope of securing funding and awareness for their causes. The team that receives the largest commitment is celebrated as the overall winner at the finale, which will also feature musical performances by some of the world's most passionate artists.

At the time, no names had been attached to the series, and since many development announcements never see the light of our TV screens, the report received little to no attention.

On Sept. 9, however, CBS' Senior Executive Vice President of Programming Thom Sherman, gave a much briefer announcement at the Television Critics Association press tour.

"I'm pleased to announce the hosts of our new competition-event series 'The Activist,' Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Julianne Hough and Usher," said Sherman. "The series will feature six activists from around the world working to bring meaningful change to one of three urgent universal causes: health, education, and the environment. The activists will compete in missions, media stunts, digital campaigns, and community events, all aimed at garnering the attention of the world's most powerful decision-makers."

The addition of the hosts' names – presumably experts in creating social change – along with a premiere date finally brought the series the spotlight it craved . . . and ultimately regretted.

The backlash: "Our traumas are not games"

The show was immediately slammed on social media, primarily for its truly colossal failure to read the room. Amid a global pandemic, climate catastrophe, economic recession, total dismantling of reproductive rights, and violent racial inequities bleeding into all of these issues, "The Activist" attempted to gamify and commodify interconnected, life-or-death struggles.

In response, more than 70 progressive groups and activists signed an open letter to CBS and Global Citizen critiqueing the premise.

"Pitting activists against one another upholds the 'oppression Olympics' and perpetuates the belief that justice issues must fight over 'breadcrumbs' supplied by those with power, resources and large platforms," the letter states. "Ultimately, this results from the very oppressive systems which we are trying to dismantle. Our lived realities, struggles and traumas are not games, nor competitions for the consumerist gaze."

More people chimed in on Twitter. Posts were alternately angry or brought humor to the commentary by pointing out how the reality competition format – often rife with manufactured tension and ludicrous catchphrases – would be contrasted with the more serious stakes of activism.

The problematic celebrity co-hosts

The letter to the producers also points out the co-hosts, who will almost certainly be generously compensated for their work on the show, "are in no way equipped to dissect the complexities of 'climate, social and health' issues."

Not only that, but Chopra and Hough have pretty checkered pasts when it comes to social justice, to say the least.

The Daily Beast reported that the show was internally spiraling out of control following widespread criticism. In a Tuesday Instagram post, Hough assured us she was "deeply listening" to the criticisms, whatever that means, and conceded she is "not qualified to act as a judge." Despite this she remains on the show.

That was before critics of "The Activist" resurfaced a photo of Hough dressed for Halloween in blackface as Uzo Aduba's character from "Orange Is the New Black." On Wednesday the "Dancing With the Stars" star was forced to apologize.

"Wearing blackface was a poor choice based on my own white privilege and white body bias that hurt people and is something that I regret doing to this day," Hough said in a lengthy statement in Variety.

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Chopra Jonas, former "Quantico" star and Bollywood icon, has been widely criticized for her support for India's nationalist prime minister Narendra Modi, and for appearing to encourage war between India and Pakistan in 2019.

That same year, when an activist confronted her about her previous nationalist statements, She received criticism for her condescending response, telling the audience member, "I hear you, whenever you're done venting. Got it? OK, cool."

Of course, arguably more insulting than the selection of Chopra Jonas and Hough as co-hosts of "The Activist" is the hiring of the celebrity hosts at all, which remains problematic even without the flash and capitalistic flair of a competition element. Their undoubtedly hefty salaries could simply go toward funding support for any of the different contestants' varying causes — and for that matter, so could all of the production costs for the show, as numerous critics have pointed out.

An activist interviewed for the show: "He said I sounded like a robot"

Given the issues with the overall concept and pushing celebrities to the forefront, it should not be a surprise that even choosing the activists to feature was a fraught process. According to at least two people who were considered for the show, it appears that the selection process was treated more as an entertainment casting session than a chance to feature important and unsung work.

Clover Hogan, a youth climate activist and founder of Force of Nature, shared a chilling Twitter thread over the weekend about her experience almost being cast on "The Activist." She recounted that the person who interviewed her about her story as an activist insisted that she give "what the producers wanted to see."

"He said I sounded like a robot, talking from a script. He asked me to do it over, this time with more emotion . . . We repeated this several times; until I burst into tears," Hogan wrote.

"I realized that I was totally a character they wanted to manipulate and fit into their own story arc narrative — none of it was about understanding the issues," she told the Daily Beast.

Alicia O'Sullivan, another activist focusing on climate change and youth action, recounted a similar experience that led her to believe the show's creators don't even "really understand" what activism entails.

"I think their concept of activism is if you set up a charity, or if you've set up a huge organization," O'Sullivan told the Daily Beast. "Activism is not just that, it's not just about setting up these huge things." She added, of the show ultimately "ghosting" her, "I dodged a bullet, as far as I'm concerned."

Like O'Sullivan, Hogan was also critical of the show's setup, and the harmful impact it could have on audiences. "I think we have to start a conversation about where action is needed, and why we can't turn activism into some kind of fetishization for people to think that they're engaging in the issues when they're just sitting at home watching this TV show," she told the Daily Beast.

While selecting reality show contestants ultimately comes down to whose personality or story would make for "good television," that aspect of the process should've tipped off producers that the original premise was the wrong fit for the aims of activism.

A mea culpa, but is it enough?

Faced with the avalance of criticism, late Wednesday CBS and its producing partners, nonprofit Global Citizen and Live Nation, finally admitted to their wrongheaded concept and annouced switching to a documentary format. The new version is expected to "focus on the same activists but without the 'challenges' or evaluations" of its previous iteration.

"'The Activist' was designed to show a wide audience the passion, long hours, and ingenuity that activists put into changing the world, hopefully inspiring others to do the same," the producers shared in a statement. "It has become apparent the format of the show as announced distracts from the vital work these incredible activists do in their communities every day. The push for global change is not a competition and requires a global effort."

Unfortunately, problems faced by "The Activist" can't be resolved by merely taking the competition out of the show.

At the center of the original iteration of "The Activist" is the reality that the capitalistic sport of forcing organizers to compete for funding from the exorbitantly wealthy isn't new. Through NGOs, billionaire-founded charities, and the insidious rise of social justice "influencing," activism is already being commodified for wealth and spectacle — "The Activist" simply took this to the next level.

As a documentary, it will have to address these inequities and power dynamics in how activists are often left at the mercy of rich people feeling generous. But color us skeptical; we doubt the new version will do so in a meaningful way.

Furthermore, none of the producing partners have responded to allegations of mistreatment and exploitation from activists who say they were contacted by the show to take part in it. And there's been no word about the continued involvement of the celebrity hosts.

As the creators of "The Activist" now work to adapt and bring forth an entirely new version of the show, it's not yet clear whether the mistakes of their past will be so easily forgiven. At the very least, "The Activist" will most certainly find its place on the television screens of the same crowd who shared black squares on Instagram to protest police violence last summer, and called that enough activism for the day.

But actual activists, and most consumers with basic critical thinking abilities, will likely be skeptical of "The Activist" — until given actual reason to trust it.

Texas's anti-abortion snitch hotline is already being shut down by 'Shrek' memes

The anti-abortion movement's routine barrages of nightmarish state-level abortion bills have ranged from sneaky, devil's-in-the-details regulations to shut down clinics, to attempts to sentence abortion providers to the death penalty. But Texas' latest law, which took effect Wednesday, is admittedly – and alarmingly – creative. It christens all citizens, not just in Texas, as a citizen police force who can sue anyone who has or helps someone have an abortion for upwards of $10,000, all on top of banning abortion at about six weeks.

And while abortion bans aren't new (1973 really wasn't that long ago, people!), the internet is (relatively speaking), and with it come some major caveats to how abortion access and activism work today. Around the end of July, Texas Right to Life started an online anonymous tip line for bored, evil people to snitch on anyone they suspect may be trying to have or help someone have an abortion, in what felt like a crossover episode between "The Handmaid's Tale" and "Black Mirror."

The tip line, of course, could be exploited as an everyday, indiscriminate weapon. It could effectively be used by vengeful co-workers, nosy and sanctimonious neighbors, abusive exes, and otherwise vindictive individuals, who might feel like ruining someone's life, subjecting them to stalking, doxing or even an exorbitantly costly lawsuit.

Their snitch site, ProLifeWhistleBlower.com, was shared widely . . . by abortion rights supporters and clever teens on Twitter, Reddit, and of course, TikTok, calling on the internet to rise up and render the tip line nonfunctional with spam. The calls to action caused a sensation; they quickly made it to Reddit's front page, drew thousands of retweets on Twitter, and arguably most effectively mobilized the teens on TikTok. Almost immediately, ProLifeWhistleBlower.com was inundated with nearly countless false reports, hate mail, and — because Gen-Z is wonderful — "Shrek" memes.

Lots and lots of "Shrek" memes, some safe for work and others not so much.

One Tik Toker shared a video of their "report" to the tip line, in which they uploaded 11 "Shrek" images with a message that explains, "My wife aborted our baby 4 weeks into her pregnancy without consulting me."

As a result of this scheming, and tasteful "Shrek" memes and furry porn, the Texas site has gone from dystopic, crowd-sourced, right-wing doxing machine, to a useless social media spectacle. Its demise feels like a callback to the epic trolling spearheaded by TikTok teens and K-Pop fans that contributed to an empty Trump rally stadium in Tulsa last summer, after users reserved thousands of tickets to the event, only to not show and humiliate the former president's bamboozled campaign team with rows upon rows of empty seats.

Later on, shortly after the presidential election that saw Trump evicted from the White House, social media users capitalized on his campaign's utterly nonsensical election fraud hotlines and online forms as a perfect opportunity for trolling. People submitted memes, and even shared titillating tales of being seduced away from the voting booth by masked Antifa super-soldiers, until the hotlines had to be shut down.

In other words, today's young people and the surprisingly significant number of decent people on the internet are exceedingly crafty and astute. They know how to use the tools at their disposal to hold their own against their often less tech-savvy and — let's face it — mostly old, white, male political foes.

Memes are great . . . until you comprehend the need for them

While this may be a triumph on some level, it's more than a little sad that today's young people have had to grow up in a world that requires them to know how to employ TikTok to take down fascist political rallies, or overwhelm an internet tip line designed to stalk, criminalize and put a bounty on pregnant people.

It's a classic, pitiable case of adults praising kids for "saving the world," without considering that kids shouldn't have to. In an ideal world, zoomers would have the peace to be able to use TikTok solely to learn dumb dances, or use Twitter just to subtweet irritating classmates. But instead, they're stuck living in a world where they have to orchestrate mass, online efforts to foil the anti-abortion movement's frequent diabolical, dehumanizing plans.

"Shrek" memes and empty Trump rally stadiums may provide for some necessary, comforting comedic relief, but the threat we face from Texas' abortion ban is anything but a joke. Not only is it the most extreme in the nation, and a signal of mounting extremism in a court system that's often prevented the most overtly dangerous anti-abortion legislation from taking effect — it's also an incentive for the most hateful and extreme people you can imagine to stalk and endanger women and pregnant people around them.

Race and abortion access have always been inextricably linked, as barriers to nearly all forms of health care often fall hardest on people of color, who are more likely to seek abortion care. All aspects of Texas' new abortion ban, but mainly its citizen policing component, will disproportionately put pregnant people of color in harm's way. Policing has a long, violent history of racial profiling, and "policing" by racist, neighborhood vigilantes certainly does, too.

Of course, spying on pregnant and pregnant-capable people isn't a new tactic of the anti-abortion movement, which is behind a number of sneaky apps people can use to track menstrual cycles or pregnancies. Dozens of states require abortion providers to report abortions to the government, and just two years ago, Missouri's top state health official admitted to tracking and recording Missourians' menstrual cycles.

You might wonder whether any of this is an especially big deal considering we already live in the surveillance state hellscape that is the era of Facebook, but in the post-Roe v. Wade world that Texas is rapidly propelling us toward, surveillance will be crucial to enforce abortion criminalization, or even punish people who miscarry if a neighbor accuses them of self-inducing an abortion.

And unfortunately, there are limits to what even the best "Shrek" memes can do to protect women and pregnant people. While many social media users are a benign force of do-gooders who would engage in any spamming or trolling necessary for justice, social media platforms are notorious for protecting abusers, and enabling accounts that promote right-wing or anti-abortion extremism. Doxing and cyber harassment of women and LGBTQ people on social media has been on the rise, but Facebook remains busy at work banning female users who call men "scum."

And most specific to Texas' abortion ban, which will force many Texans to travel out-of-state for care if they can afford to, self-induce abortions, or simply carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, Instagram banned an account sharing World Health Organization-verified information and resources about accessing medication abortion, and safely self-managing an abortion, mere days before Texas' law took effect. The move is particularly galling because Instagram has been a popular platform for cyber sexual exploitation or "revenge porn," but its moderators have deemed the real problem to be medically accurate facts about self-managed abortion from an account run by health providers.

At the end of the day, tragically enough, not all problems can be solved by gathering the masses and spamming abortion doxing hotlines. Calling Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's office to ask if his refrigerator is running may be momentarily satisfying, but won't change the state of abortion access in Texas.

But what can meaningfully change things is donating to the Texas abortion funds that have been doing the work against all kinds of logistical and legislative barriers for years, supporting the organizers on the ground that are helping people get care, or putting in the work to flip the state's legislature of radicalized white men. After all, social media activism has its tricks and powers, but nothing can replace mutual aid and solidarity with those on the ground.

Spike Lee scrambles to re-edit 9/11 documentary after backlash for featuring conspiracy theories

With the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks fast approaching, attention is turning to how Americans are still grappling with the legacy of that day. Acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee is among those who created documentaries about the subject, but following backlash over including conspiracy theorists in his HBO series, he's backtracking.

According to Variety, Lee is "back in the editing room and looking at the eighth and final chapter of 'NYC EPICENTERS 9/11–>2021½.'"

"I Respectfully Ask You To Hold Your Judgement Until You See The FINAL CUT," Lee says in a statement sent by HBO.

The statement comes following a report that the final episode of Lee's series "NYC EPICENTERS 9/11–>2021½," which premiered this weekend, includes extensive interviews with members of the conspiracy group Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth.

This group pushes the debunked theory that the World Trade Center towers were destroyed not by al-Qaeda, but a controlled demolition.In an interview with the New York Times, Lee seemed to subtly push this theory as well, admitting he still has "questions" about what really happened on 9/11, and telling the paper, "The amount of heat that it takes to make steel melt, that temperature's not reached. And then the juxtaposition of the way Building 7 fell to the ground — when you put it next to other building collapses that were demolitions, it's like you're looking at the same thing.

"But people going to make up their own mind. My approach is put the information in the movie and let people decide for themselves. I respect the intelligence of the audience."

"NYC EPICENTERS 9/11–>2021½" commemorates 20 years since the Sept. 11 attacks took place in 2001, and is the product of hundreds of interviews conducted by Lee that explore the impacts of 9/11 and more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic, on New York City. Its final episode, which will fittingly air on Friday, Sept. 11, is the episode that had featured the controversial, debunked theories in question, which Lee and HBO have since announced they are editing.

Media critics who received the docuseries to screen in advance have objected to how the final episode (which has now been pulled from review consideration) features extensive interviews with conspiracy theorists alongside interviews with experts who have researched 9/11 and its impacts for years including Shyam Sunder, who researched the attacks for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. According to the New York Times, at one point in the episode, when Sunder asks Lee if he's sufficiently explained the events of 9/11 to the director, Lee laughs and responds, "Not really." In contrast, the Times suggests that at times, it appears the documentary sides with conspiracy theorists.

Slate's Jeremy Stahl has compared the episode to "presenting Covid-19 vaccine skeptics in a debate alongside Anthony Fauci, or Holocaust deniers alongside the Simon Wiesenthal Center, or a clique of climate change skeptics alongside the authors of the United Nations IPCC report."

Conspiracy theories about the truth about 9/11, some of which wrongheadedly assert the terror attack was an "inside job" carried out by the Bush administration, are often given the meme treatment or laughed off on social media. But experts have concerningly linked the success of 9/11 theories through the years to the success of some of the most dangerous conspiracy theories that have poisoned our politics, today.

9/11 trutherism paved the way for the massive spread of QAnon's outlandish pedophilia cabal theories, which have culminated in death and an insurrection, as well as anti-vaccine conspiracy theories that have contributed to the spread of COVID variants across the country.

As we await the final cut of the last episode of Lee's "NYC EPICENTERS 9/11–>2021½," for all its controversy, it includes highly anticipated interviews with leading public figures like Jon Stewart, Rosie Perez, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Chuck Schumer, Bill De Blasio, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and more.

"NYC EPICENTERS 9/11–>2021½" airs Sundays after "Last Week Tonight" on HBO and streams on HBO Max, with the final episode premiering on Saturday, Sept. 11.

Tennis star Naomi Osaka exposes Megyn Kelly’s ignorance: 'Do better Megyn'

On Monday, tennis super star and mental health advocate Naomi Osaka graced the cover of Sports Illustrated's 2021 issue, alongside Megan Thee Stallion, who made history as the first rapper on the magazine cover, and Leyla Bloom, its first trans model. Osaka herself is also the first Haitian and Japanese woman on a cover.

As widely celebrated as this year's covers have been, conservative political commentator Megyn Kelly had an unsolicited thought or two to share. The former Fox News host, known for previous takes like the necessity of Santa Claus being white, criticized Osaka for gracing the cover of a magazine despite her much publicized departure from the French Open two months ago so she could abstain from the competition's media requirements due to her mental health.

"Let's not forget the cover of (& interview in) Vogue Japan and Time Mag!" Kelly said in a smug quote tweet ignorantly accusing Osaka of hypocrisy. The needless feud initiated by Kelly notably comes just weeks before "The Megyn Kelly Show" talk show is set to air on Sirius XM. This would be her first full-time journalism job since her 2019 exit from NBC, Insider reports.

In a now-deleted tweet, Osaka responded by setting the record straight — and pretty much proving she knows more about journalism than a "journalist" like Kelly. "Seeing as you're a journalist I would've assumed you would take the time to research what the lead times are for magazines. If you did that, you would've found I shot all of my covers last year. Instead, your first reaction is to hop on here and spew negativity, do better Megan [sic]," Osaka wrote.

As Osaka points out, media appearances like cover shoots, or collaborations like the Naomi Osaka Barbie doll, are planned and created months if not over a year in advance before being made public. Osaka's Sports Illustrated covers, Netflix documentary series, and Barbie doll — all of which have been catching heat from mostly conservative critics — were created long before her recent, escalated mental health struggles that barred her from completing the French Open's media requirement, and participating in the tournament itself.

That said, Kelly's critical tweets of Osaka are hardly the slam dunk she seems to think they are, considering Osaka has never said she never plans to participate in media or work with journalists. Quite the opposite, in her statement from the end of May, she brought up her desire to "make things better for the players, press and fans."

Of course, not one to take a hint, Kelly felt the need to continue the feud she'd initiated, even after Osaka had opted for the high road and deleted her tweet and blocked Kelly. "Poor @naomiosaka blocked me while taking a shot at me (guess she's only tough on the courts)," Kelly wrote. "She is apparently arguing that she shot her many covers b/4 publicly claiming she was too socially anxious to deal w/press. Truth is she just doesn't like Qs she can't control. Admit it."

Kelly, of course, isn't the only media personality who felt the need to mock and belittle someone struggling with mental illness. English TV personality Piers Morgan tweeted of Osaka's Sports Illustrated cover, "ANOTHER magazine cover for brave inspiring Naomi! No wonder she had no time for beastly media press conferences!" Following Kelly's self-important announcement that she'd been blocked by Osaka, Morgan chimed in via tweet: "Yep, and she just blocked me too. The only media Ms Osaka wants to tolerate are sycophantic magazine editors telling her how perfect she is."

Morgan and Kelly were just two of many mostly white, middle-aged right-wing media personalities who felt compelled to dunk on a 23-year-old Black and Japanese athlete for a magazine photoshoot she shot months ago. It's unclear what point if any they were trying to make here. Rather than make a point, Kelly and Morgan's tweets come off as a desperate and racist ploy for attention through tearing down a trailblazing Black woman, who's courageously been open about her struggles with anxiety and depression. If Kelly is so desperate to talk about the "truth," it's as simple as this: Kelly is a right-wing "journalist" who was fired from NBC three years ago after defending blackface as appropriate for Halloween, and Morgan himself left ITV's "Good Morning Britain" after backlash for his racist harassment of Meghan Markle, another Black woman who's openly struggled with mental health and suicidal ideation. In contrast with these two, Osaka is one of the most decorated and talented athletes in the world.

Where Kelly and Morgan share a long history of tearing down women of color, and especially Black women, and generally spewing racist conspiracy theories and gossip on the interwebs, Osaka has been paving the way for other athletes not just through her brilliant tennis abilities, but also her championing of the importance of prioritizing mental health. The dominant sports culture has long taken advantage of athletes' labor, and bred entitlement among media and fans to total, unfiltered access to athletes. In challenging this culture, Osaka is inspiring athletes around the world and all people with mental health struggles to be unapologetic about doing what they need to do to take care of themselves, and be unafraid to ask for what they need.

As cruel and heinous as Kelly's attacks on a woman who's been open about her mental illness may be, her ultimate insignificance can be summed up by Osaka's flippant misspelling of Kelly's name. "Do better Megan," indeed.

Meghan McCain's implosion on 'The View' was the 'natural outcome' of ABC's failed experiment

On July 1, "The View" co-host Meghan McCain announced her planned departure at the end of the show's 24th season later this month, leaving many to wonder if we'll ever uncover the mystery of who her father is. The announcement unsurprisingly sparked joyous reaction from McCain's many online critics — and also undoubtedly brought some relief to her fellow co-hosts, many of whom have visibly struggled to put up with some of her most outlandish, misinformed and offensive takes throughout her nearly four-year tenure on the show.

This article originally appeared at Salon.

McCain's departure, and the years of on-air infighting, ignorance and racism that preceded it, warrant a fair amount of interrogation as to what she was even doing on the show in the first place (besides bewildering us with an array of dubious hair art). There are plenty of warm, optimistic explanations for this casting, like the importance of representing diversity of thought and perspective, or the classic, welcoming "both sides." After all, ABC might have seen McCain's inclusion as just good business — plenty of the show's target female audiences watching "The View" on weekday afternoons may share her conservative viewpoints, or revere her father, the late John McCain, in case Meghan failed to mention that.

But there's a dark side to that viral meme of the stick-figure best friends, Sally, a Democrat, and Bob, a Republican, who are both presumably white. The glorification of across-the-aisle friendships, which "The View" has tried to simulate with McCain as a co-host, ignores the toll these relationships can have on people of color, LGBTQ folks, women, immigrants, survivors, or, of course, people hailing from countries that have been devastated by U.S. military actions and imperialism. The reductive notion that politics is "just" politics, and we can be friends with those who "disagree" with us, doesn't apply to people who don't have the privilege of being able to treat politics as abstraction, rather than their everyday, oppressive realities. Politics isn't something those who are marginalized can just compartmentalize and neatly put aside for the comfort of those who are complicit in their oppression.

The implosion of McCain's time on "The View" is the natural outcome of such a hackneyed sociopolitical experiment. It's the natural outcome of planting an unapologetically entitled and problematic white woman on a show to spar with or even argue against the humanity of her female co-hosts who generally know better. Now that McCain's time on the show nearing its end, it's worth revisiting her highlights to recognize just how harmful it was for ABC to platform her all these years.

October 2017: McCain's establishes her self-interest in her "View" debut

For her inauspicious debut, McCain decided to weigh in on Mike Pence's NFL stunt, in which he stormed out of a game knowing that players would be kneeling in protest. While the idea of protesting the anthem is a hot topic among conservatives, McCain turned the conversation to make it all about herself. This was just a sign of things to come.

April 2018: McCain tells "The View" audience they "deserve" Trump

When "The View" audiences applauded former House Speaker Paul Ryan's retirement announcement — yes, the Paul Ryan who tried to snatch health care from millions — McCain chastised audiences for celebrating. "If Paul Ryan is the greatest sin, this is how we got Trump, because if Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney and people like this are the worst politicians, then you deserve Trump," she said.

Of course, this holier-than-thou lecturing at audience members was hardly the shrewd commentary McCain intended for it to be. Under Trump, millions would suffer the unthinkable, from state-sanctioned family separation programs to the eventual, deadly mishandling of COVID — but, sure, Meghan. Celebrating the retirement of an evil politician means we had it coming!

December 2018: McCain almost drives Joy Behar to quit

In a particularly tense exchange between McCain and her co-host Behar, the women argue about Behar's choice to segue a conversation about the legacy of President George H.W. Bush into the urgent issue of climate change, which McCain found disrespectful.

At one point, as the cameras cut away, Behar reportedly said of McCain, "If this s**t doesn't stop I'm quitting this damn show. I can't take this much more." She continued, "I've tolerated a lot of s**t on this show but I'm at my wits' end with this entitled b***h. Enough already! Enough already! I'm not playing nice any longer."

At this point, McCain had been on the show for just over a year — a year of talking over her co-hosts, spewing misinformation. It probably wasn't the first time one of her fellow co-hosts threatened to quit over her, and it probably wasn't the last.

February 2019: McCain equates abortion with "infanticide"

At a time of increased violence targeting abortion providers because of baseless smears from Trump and other Republicans that equated abortion later in pregnancy with "infanticide," McCain added fuel to the fire, arguing again with Hostin, who she accused of thinking "a baby born from a botched abortion should be put down like a dog or a cat?!"

Abortion later in pregnancy can sometimes happen due to extreme health conditions, or because someone wasn't able to get an abortion earlier due to the expansive web of restrictions on care. The frequent conflation with this health service at any and every stage of pregnancy has frequently led to retaliatory violence on providers and patients.

McCain, of course, wasn't entertaining opposing views, or even just facts. "If the Democratic Party wants to be the party of infanticide, that is their choice," she said at the end of the segment.

McCain has a history of bringing up her hatred of abortion on the show, from baseless right-wing myths on abortion to more recent criticisms of abortion as "a cardinal sin," arguing in favor of the Catholic Church's retaliation against President Biden. All of these takes, of course, were spewed in the presence of fellow co-host Whoop Goldberg, who has shared her story of self-inducing her abortion as an adolescent girl, decades ago. This insensitivity to Goldberg is hardly the only time McCain has been unapologetically, well, the worse.

March 2019: McCain cries at Rep. Omar's "anti-Semitism"

In what the Daily Beast's Justin Baragona aptly described as "some grievance cosplay," McCain responded to her interpretation of Rep. Omar's comments on Israel's financial influence over U.S. politicians by crying, and somehow casting herself as the victim of Omar's supposed "anti-Semitism."

"I take this very personally," McCain said of Omar's criticisms of Zionism. "I would go so far as to say I probably verge on being a Zionist as well," she continued, citing her family's close friendship with Jewish politician Joe Lieberman. "I take the hate crimes rising in this country incredibly seriously and I think what's happening in Europe is really scary. And I'm sorry if I'm getting emotional."

June 2019: McCain identifies self as "sacrificial Republican" of "The View"

In a routine, par-for-the-course argument with McCain's fellow co-hosts on what motivates Trump supporters, McCain at one point referred to herself as the show's "sacrificial Republican." In response to McCain's usual self-victimizing, co-host Joy Behar offered a sarcastic, "aww," to which McCain snapped back, "Oh don't feel bad for me, b***h, I'm paid to do this, okay. Don't feel bad for me." McCain, of course, was the one who had initiated the self-pity party, despite — as she points out — being paid to spew white-supremacist-lite commentary on the show.

December 2019: McCain calls herself the "Mother of Dragons"

As if the "Game of Thrones" series finale flop weren't enough to ruin the series for its legions of fans, McCain's self-identification with Daenerys Targaryen, "Mother of Dragons," was the nail in the coffin. While getting into it with Goldberg in a nastier-than-usual argument about — you guessed it! — politics, Goldberg, speaking for all of us, asked McCain point-blank, "Will you stop talking?"

McCain later took to Twitter to tweet out a GIF of Daenerys accompanied with the text, "Good morning – to all the fellow conservative 'girls' who won't be quiet." To be clear, there's nothing especially brave about having harmful political views that are written into oppressive laws across the country. There's certainly nothing brave about agreeing with the marginalization of poor people of color. That said, there might be some merit to McCain's conflation of herself with an intolerant and tyrannical imperialist like Daenerys — perhaps McCain isn't always wrong!

March 2020: McCain harangues Sen. Elizabeth Warren, is ignored

If there's one thing Senator and former presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is famous for, it's "having a plan for that." And she was nothing if not prepared to deal with Meghan McCain being Meghan McCain in her March 2020 appearance on "The View." Between offering her wide-ranging plans and policy positions on a wealth tax, universal child care, and funding public education for all, Warren simply ignores McCain's numerous, rude outbursts and interruptions, and doesn't waver once or give McCain a chance to derail her. Jezebel called the segment an "excellent lesson in ignoring McCain," which is a lesson McCain's own co-hosts and ABC might have done well to learn from, earlier.

June 2020: McCain presumes to know more about voting rights than Stacey Abrams, calls neighborhood a "war zone"

In a particularly embarrassing segment with the hindsight of the events of November 2020, McCain attempted to condescendingly explain the voting accessibility trends in guest Stacey Abram's own state of Georgia, to Abrams herself. Abrams nearly pulled off an upset victory in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election, only to be defeated by rampant, racist voter suppression efforts in the state. Rather than be demoralized by the loss, Abrams instead worked tirelessly to understand voter suppression trends, strategize on how to overcome these trends, and even flip her state blue.

In any case, on that day in June, Abrams had some time, which she lent to schooling McCain, and tearing apart the "View" host's nonsense about the majority of Georgia counties that experienced ballot and voting problems in the 2018 election being run by Democratic leaders. Trump would notably co-opt these conspiracy theories upon losing Georgia in 2020.

"The reality is your access to democracy shouldn't depend on your county of residence," Abrams said. She continued, "Fundamentally we deserve to have elections that work for everyone. And yes, I believe that we saw a combination of malfeasance which is a continuance of the voter suppression we saw that [Georgia Secretary of State] Brad Raffensperger inherited from [Georgia Gov.] Brian Kemp, but it's also incompetence. And if we don't solve both of those problems, we're going to have a national breakdown of our election come November."

That same month, amid surging protests against racist police violence, McCain who is decisively against this First Amendment right, called her wealthy Manhattan neighborhood "a war zone." She said, "This is not America. Our leaders have abandoned us and continue to let great American cities burn to the ground and be destroyed. I never could have fathomed this." On top of being plainly inaccurate, her comments were foremost offensive to people who live in actual war zones, and certainly offensive to people protesting for safety from militarized police forces.

April 2021: Following Ohio police killing a teenage Black girl, McCain criticizes NBA star LeBron James

Shortly after the guilty verdict of Derek Chauvin, the Minnesota police officer charged with killing George Floyd, Ohio police killed Ma'Khia Bryant, a teenage girl. The killing of Bryant sparked outraged response, including from LeBron James, who demanded "#accountability" for the police responsible in a tweet.

"When you have people like LeBron James posting pictures of this police officer before this has been adjudicated and litigated," McCain started, "you're also putting that police officer's life in danger, and I would like killing to stop in this country and violence to stop."

Throughout the segment, McCain repeatedly insisted she "heard" and "understood" everything her fellow co-host Sunny Hostin said about racist police violence, yet made the decision to focus instead on violence supposedly targeting police officers, and violence broadly, blaming citizen protesters rather than militarized police departments, and racist police violence.

May 2021: McCain equates the "Squad" of progressive women of color in Congress with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene

Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley are often referred to as "the Squad" — in a warm, badass way by their supporters, and a dismissive, infantilizing way by their detractors. More recently, in May this year, McCain equated their passionate support for health care for all, compassionate immigration laws, living wages, and other common-sense progressive policies with the unrepentant fascism of Rep. Greene, shortly after Greene equated the Holocaust with COVID vaccinations.
"If [Greene] is the face of the Republicans, the Squad is the face of the Democrats," McCain said. "I would love Democrats to put that same type of energy into what's happening on the left." She continued, "Quite frankly, this is how people get red-pilled. The media doesn't want the Squad to look bad. They just want Marjorie Taylor to look bad."

* * *

As McCain's time on "The View" comes to an end, unfortunately, her legacy of giving representation to the many white women who condemn racism in words while checking off whole Bingo sheets of racist microaggressions, will continue on one platform or another, lest she decry being "canceled" by Twitter liberals. Such is the most frightening, insidious thing about white women like McCain, who are "reasonable" Republicans, and are therefore entitled to not just platforms but friendships with those across the aisle: Their cloying sense of victimhood when they're disliked or socially rejected for holding abhorrent, racist views, can be weaponized at the drop of a hat against marginalized people who are seen as rejecting them.

Whenever a person of color supposedly allows politics to disrupt their relationship with someone with dehumanizing political beliefs, they're the ones seen as intolerant and aggressive, rather than the person with views like McCain's. They're the ones expected to expend their emotional labor to offer a crash course in patriarchy and white supremacy to "friends" with dehumanizing, triggering political beliefs.

For all McCain's whining about so-called "cancel culture," conservative values remain deeply institutionalized and normalized at nearly every level of government, and broadly within our culture. It's not impossible to be friends with those with whom you may share vehement disagreements — it is, however, impossible to be friends with people who repeatedly disrespect you. The cocoon world of McCain's time on "The View" had to break open eventually.