A former producer of the daytime talk show The View claims that previous co-host Rosie O’Donnell slandered her, leading the producer to lose a long-time position with the show. O’Donnell now faces a slander lawsuit, filed in a New York state court on Thursday.
Entertainment Tonight reports that former senior producer Jennifer Shepard-Brookman filed a complaint against O’Donnell, claiming that the former The View co-host falsely accused her of pairing up with co-host Whoopi Goldberg in an ongoing battle against O’Donnell. According to the complaint, O’Donnell “accused Ms. Brookman of teaming with Ms. Goldberg to undermine Ms. O’Donnell.”
Although in the past, rumors circulated that O’Donnell had a difficult time getting along with her fellow co-hosts on The View, the new lawsuit against her indicates that the problems between Brookman and O’Donnell ran much deeper than disagreements and minor bickering. Per the complaint, O’Donnell was reportedly furious when Brookman gave an Islam-related story about the beheading of journalist James Foley to Goldberg, a topic O’Donnell passionately wanted to cover.
“Ms. O’Donnell intimidated Ms. Brookman by screaming that she ‘owned’ the story and was upset that Ms. Goldberg covered the story, and by grabbing the arms of the chair in which Ms. Brookman was sitting, leaning very close to her face and prohibiting her from leaving.”
Brookman claims that O’Donnell began to talk behind her back by telling others that Brookman leaked sensitive information to the media, which ultimately led to Brookman losing her job. Brookman’s attorney denies that she ever leaked anything to the media, yet the producer was fired nonetheless.
“To be clear, Ms. Brookman denies that she ever leaked any such information about the show to the media.”
Brookman, who had been a senior producer on the daytime talk show since 2001, claimed that she was afraid of O’Donnell, especially after the co-host reportedly got in her face to berate her. The former producer also stated she was afraid of being assaulted by O’Donnell, who was so belligerent and angry that she wouldn’t let Brookman leave the set.
After exiting the show numerous years ago, O’Donnell returned to The View in September, 2014, only to stay six months before announcing she was once again leaving the show indefinitely. Stress was the primary reason for O’Donnell’s final departure from the show, as the actress was having a difficult time in her personal life, including a separation from her former partner and problems with her daughter.
The 53-year-old was also worried about her health. She stated in an interview with ET that stress wasn’t worth developing another heart attack over.
“Stress is a major contributing factor to heart disease and heart attacks. You can’t really minimize it. The most easy way to accomplish the lessening of the stress is to not go to work for right now.”
From arguments with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to spats with her co-hosts, O’Donnell has been branded a “big bully,” according to the New York Daily News. However, Goldberg, known to stick up for herself, didn’t let O’Donnell get too far. During a December 2014 episode of The View on dealing with racism, the two co-hosts were so heated that they screamed at each other.
“I’m a gay American whose been called an [expletive]. I have a black kid I raised Whoopi! I have a kid in my house!”
O’Donnell’s attorney, Nicolle Jacoby, responded to the complaint, stating that the accusations are “baseless” and false.
“The allegations that have been made by Jennifer Brookman against Rosie O’Donnell are baseless and Ms. O’Donnell will defend herself vigorously in court.”
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