There are days when Raven-Symoné is lonelier than a pine tree in a parking lot.
Without a doubt, the child star turned daytime talk show host is taking home a hefty paycheck for her role on ABC’s The View; though nary a day goes by when Raven-Symoné isn’t lighting up social networks with her quixotic, oft-controversial ramblings.
And many viewers, it seems, are fed up.
While some on #BlackTwitter believe her opinions are useless, others have called Raven-Symoné “ignorant” and “dangerous.” Just three days after a Change.org petition calling for her ouster was launched, 128,000-plus people added their digital signatures. The most virulent displeasure appears to be coming from African-American audiences.
“Raven-Symoné has been spouting her ignorant and self-hating spiel on The View for long enough,” the letter read, in part. “From stating that she wouldn’t hire somebody for having a ghetto name, to openly complaining about reverse racism.”
“The final straw was her comment about the recent viral video of the school police officer assaulting the student, where Raven-Symoné said ‘get off your phone in school then.’”
In a statement to CNN, the network stood by its talent, responding to the growing petition as follows: “We love Raven. She is confident, genuine and opinionated, all qualities that make her a great addition to the panel.”
Now, you’d have a much easier time digging a diamond out of a landfill than finding an issue on which we agree. And I probably wouldn’t enjoy chatting with her over cocktails—even if it included my favorite bourbon.
Do I find her positions unfortunate? Indeed, I do—especially given the critical nature of the national discourse on social justice. Do I think she has an obligation—even as an entertainer—to bring more than a nascent understanding of any number of topics related to the conversation? Sure.
Let’s be clear: There is little about her banter that I hold in any regard. However, I believe she is entitled to say it and is, likewise, entitled to the stinging criticism that sometimes comes with that. I often vote with my feet (or my TV remote, as it were). Collective social action, especially for human-rights causes, tends to get me moving. Still, I cannot find it in myself to demand that she be fired.
Spend more than 10 minutes on TV and you’re bound to run into people who don’t agree with you. Hell, I’ve been called everything but a “child of God” for throwing my two cents in on various cable network shows.
“Bitch.” “Porch monkey.” “Uncle Tom.” “Race-baiting nigger.” “Libtard.” “Sellout.” If I had a nickel for every bit of foulness hurled my way, I might be able to afford a penthouse in Trump Tower.
If that weren’t enough, one blogger even went after my family when I wrote a recent cover story for Ebony magazine about Bill Cosby. A D-list actor once compared me to Izola Curry, the black woman who attempted to assassinate Martin Luther King Jr.Others have come for my job and demanded that networks fire me. Then too, I’ve received a rash of death threats through the years. One bozo from Texas even doxxed me and threatened to shoot me dead for speaking up about the death of Trayvon Martin. Ironically, at least one nameless anchor went to network executives and show producers to have me “blackballed” because I dared disagree with their feckless, sophomoric “analysis.” It was a curious thing, really, given that it came from a black person who has faced their own mountain of criticism from #BlackTwitter.
But I would never call for their ouster.
While The View is an entertainment show, the women on the daily panel—from liberal to conservative—rarely shy away from controversial topics and never hesitate to take on the breaking news of the day. In fact, they get paid to do it.
We may not like what Raven-Symoné has to say or what informs her thinking. We may even believe her to be naïve. She might just be cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. But for The View, and every show like it, this is about ratings.
If you want Raven-Symoné fired, just stop watching.