The hosts of The View may change, but one thing remains constant: the show’s ability to offend. Tuesday’s show was no different, with two of the hosts taking aim at a Miss America finalist who spoke of her passion for nursing.
Miss Colorado Kelley Johnson made it to the top five of the elite pageant and scholarship competition this year. For the talent portion of the competition, she delivered a monologue explaining why nursing was so important using the example of one particular patient.
During The View‘s discussion of the pageant, hosts Michelle Collins and Joy Behar decided to really rip into Johnson. “She came out in her nurse’s uniform and basically read her emails out loud,” Collins said, “and shockingly did not win.”
Behar asked, “Why does she have a doctor’s stethoscope around her neck?”
Anyone who has ever been to the doctor’s office knows that nurses, too, use stethoscopes, but Behar must have thought the line was too good not to use.
Following the segment, nurses everywhere are up in arms, feeling that their profession has been denigrated. They launched the hashtag #NursesUnite to share their frustration and send a message to the crew at The View.
National Nurses United, which, according to its Facebook page, is the largest union and professional association of registered nurses, responded to the hosts’ comments with a call to arms.
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Nurses and non-nurses alike followed suit, posting on the show’s Facebook with comments about the importance of the nursing profession and also bashing the hosts for denigrating people who save lives.
A particularly poignant post on The View’s Facebook page, written by “a pissed off Emergency Room Nurse who has has spent the past 5 years of her life devoted to saving yours,” illustrates the widespread frustration with Behar and Collins’ comments. The nurse, Krystal Pendergraft, took the women to task.
Nursing is a talent. It takes a talented person to put an IV in a dehydrated newborn with veins as fragile as a piece of hair. It takes talent to perform CPR for 2 hours while desperately trying to save someone’s child. It takes talent to safely manage a confused and combative patient. It takes talent to place a body in a body bag and wheel a ghostlike figure covered in a white sheet down the hall to the morgue. It takes talent to walk out of one room where a patient is sitting up laughing, to another room where a patient has just found out he is paralyzed.
After being bombarded by similar comments, the hosts offered something of an apology on Wednesday’s show.
“We love nurses,” Collins said. “We adore you, we respect you. You guys are wonderful. You’re the most compassionate people.” She even advocated for giving them all raises (and letting them take her money).
After explaining why she thought Johnson was wearing a nurse’s “costume,” Behar said, “It’s not like I was trying to be funny. It was just stupid and inattentive on my part.”
Update, 4:35pm CT, Sept. 17:
After Tuesday’s incident, two major advertisers have suspended or stopped advertising during The View. Johnson & Johnson tweeted the following on Thursday, voicing support for nurses and announcing their move.
Marisa Kabas is a lifestyle reporter and activist. Her work has been published by Fusion, Fast Company, and Today. She’s also served as an editorial campaigns director for Purpose PBC, a social movement incubator.