ABC Defends Raven-Symoné Against Petition Demanding Her Removal From The View

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Even before she joined The View as a permanent panelist in June, Raven-Symoné was known for stirring up controversy during her guest appearances on the morning talk show. Since then, she has frequently appeared in headlines over comments she's made during the show. In July, Raven-Symoné said that she thought Caitlyn Jenner was moving "too fast, too soon" in her transition. In October, the former Disney star said that she wouldn't hire someone based solely on their name. Last week, Raven-Symoné expressed another controversial opinion, this time about the now-viral footage from Spring Valley High School in South Carolina. This proved to be the last straw for many people.

Five days ago, Che Scott-Heron created a Change.org petition asking Barbara Walters and ABC to remove Raven-Symoné from The View. "Raven-Symoné has been spouting her ignorant and self-hating spiel on The View for long enough," the petition reads. "African Americans and black people around the diaspora need a voice representative of their views, and not a voice representative of what white people want us to say. We need strong black role models in prominent positions on television, and Raven-Symoné cannot provide that. That is why I ask that we petition to remove her from The View."

At the time of this article's publication, the petition has 130,221 of the desired 150,000 signatures. It created such a stir that ABC, the network on which The View airs, issued a statement to CNN about whether or not it would heed the petition's desire.

"We love Raven. She is confident, genuine and opinionated, all qualities that make her a great addition to the panel," the statement reads.

ABC isn't going to remove an opinionated host who's not afraid to express extremely controversial opinions that deviate from the norm if it equals ratings. Plus, when was the last time you heard this much about The View? The show is in its 19th season. Until Raven-Symoné joined the panel, it seemed likelier to go off the air than be in the news almost every other week. The show is called The View; she's expressing her views. (Please note that I'm just playing devil's advocate here.)

Over at The Daily Beast, Goldie Taylor writes with a different opinion on the topic of Symoné's proposed ousting. "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."

For Taylor, this boils down to a freedom of speech issue. Symoné has been given the platform to speak her mind on TV, and as long as she has the backing of the network, that's what she's going to do. Of course, this could all change the next time Raven-Symoné truly puts her foot in her mouth over a topical issue. For now, however, it appears that her seat on The View's panel is secure. (CNN)

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