Raven-Symone is notorious for speaking her mind on ABC’s long-running talk show The View. However, the actress and singer is now under fire as some viewers believe her tirades have gone too far. A petition, which was posted at Change.org, accuses the actress of failing to fulfill her position as a “strong black role model.” Therefore, the petitioners are asking Barbara Walters to dismiss the controversial host.
The petition mentions two specific incidents which some viewers found incredibly offensive.
During the October 8 episode of The View, the hosts discussed a viral YouTube video titled “Top 60 Ghetto Black Names.” As explained in the film’s description, the video features two young men who “countdown the top 60 ghettoest [sic] and blackest names.”
After watching the clip, Raven began the discussion with a bold statement about women with unconventional names.
“I am very discriminatory against words like the ones that they were saying in those names… I’m not about to hire you if your name is Watermelondrea. It’s just not going to happen. I’m not going to hire you.”
Although the comments were largely ignored by her co-hosts, social media outlets were overrun with a barrage of comments criticizing the host’s harsh words.
Three days later, Raven-Symone admitted her “comment was in poor taste” and that her “lack of empathy towards name discrimination was uncalled for.”
In her statement, which was shared by Us Weekly, the talk show host shared her own struggles with employment discrimination — which she believes has negatively impacted her confidence and self-esteem.
Despite her earlier comments about unconventional names, the actress said employment should be based solely on qualifications — and that characteristics including names and physical appearance should never be a factor.
Raven was further criticized for comments she made during the October 28 episode of The View. During Wednesday’s show, the hosts discussed another viral video which features a seemingly violent exchange between a student and a school resource officer.
Although the details of the confrontation are unclear, the officer apparently pushed the student to the ground, pulled her across the floor, and physically restrained her — for a seemingly mundane violation of school rules.
Amid the discussion about the clip, Raven-Symone criticized the officer’s use of excessive force. However, as reported by USA Today, she suggested the student may have been partially to blame.
“First, she was asked by multiple teachers to put her phone away or to leave the room… They called him as a last resort. He talked to her for 30 seconds and she still didn’t get up. She still didn’t put the phone away… “
Raven’s apparent defense of the officer’s actions, combined with her earlier comments about unconventional names, prompted a petition that demands her dismissal from the popular daytime talk show.
“Raven Symone has been spouting her ignorant and self hating spiel on the view for long enough… African Americans and black people… need a voice representative of their views… We need strong black role models in prominent positions on television an [sic] Raven Symone cannot provide that.”
Within three days, the petition has gained more than 100,000 supporters. However, in a statement to Hollywood Reporter, a representative with ABC confirmed there are no plans to dismiss the host, as she is “a great addition to the panel.”
According to reports, Raven-Symone is having a very difficult month. In addition to The View controversy, the actress and her long-time girlfriend AzMarie Livingston have reportedly broken up. Although the Us Weekly report was not confirmed by Raven or AzMarie, sources said the couple cut ties earlier this month.
Raven-Symone has not commented on the petition to have her dismissed from The View or her possible breakup. However, an ABC spokesperson confirmed that the network is satisfied with her performance on the show.
[Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Walter Kaitz]