Why Sunny Hostin Called Losing ‘The View’ Seat to Rosie Perez in 2014 a ‘Gut Punch’
Though Sunny Hostin became a regular panelist on The View in September 2016, she auditioned for a permanent seat two years earlier. The attorney ended up being one of many contenders trying out for the co-hosting gig. While odds looked in her favor, Hostin was stunned when she found out why she was passed over for Rosie Perez.
Sunny Hostin originally auditioned for ‘The View’ in 2014
After sporadically filling in for co-hosts on The View, Hostin was invited to try out for a permanent spot. She was surprised when she discovered a room full of competitors vying for the same position, and noted a commonality with some of the candidates.
“There was definitely a Latina contingent there, indicating that a Latina voice might be something they were looking for,” Hostin wrote in her 2020 memoir, I Am These Truths: A Memoir of Identity, Justice, and Living Between Worlds. “I had already encountered some of the same old, tiresome questioning when I’d mentioned on set that I was Latina, and once we got off air, people would ask how that was possible.”
Hostin got acquainted with some of the women auditioning, and learned some interesting details along the way.
“The two women I noticed, Lauren Sanchez and October Gonzalez, definitely physically fit more of the stereotypical idea of what a Latina looked like,” The View star explained. “[October] also mentioned that she didn’t speak Spanish because she wasn’t Latina. The last name apparently came from someone she was not really married to, Tony Gonzalez, a former NFL player, who had been married to Lauren Sanchez, who I believe was in fact Latina. … You really can’t make this stuff up.”
‘The View’ chair was given to Rosie Perez
After a harrowing day of mock roundtables with other TV personalities, Hostin was under the impression that she landed the gig.
“The network asked me to sign a deal sheet, which was basically a document stating that I wasn’t going to take on another opportunity that would prevent me from joining the show,” she wrote. “My agent said that was a great sign. And I definitely still wanted the job, even though the audition had been brutal.”
Hostin was at the U.S. Open “literally celebrating” her new career op, when she got a call from her agent. He told her the The View seat had been given to Rosie Perez.
“‘They really wanted a Latina for the seat,’ ” Hostin recalled her agent telling her. “‘But I am Latina!’ I practically shouted. It didn’t matter. They’d made their decision.”
Sunny Hostin’s felt her ethnicity was in question
The outcome of losing The View job to Perez brought up many old wounds for Hostin.
“It was a gut punch,” the lawyer revealed. “My whole life I’d been told I wasn’t Latina enough. And here it was again. I’d been a successful guest host. … And I lost out because the powers that be deemed that I, a Spanish-speaking woman who was Puerto Rican, wasn’t Latina enough. It felt like the culmination of every doubt, every suspicious glance, every round of ‘How Puerto Rican are you?’ I’d had to deal with my whole life.”
Being passed over for the daytime talk show for the reason she was given, Hostin felt her roots were once again in question.
“All those questions, which had haunted me, infuriated me, saddened me, bubbled up in my mind, spinning on an endless loop,” The View panelist shared. “I was crushed.”
Hostin continued working at CNN until she received another invite from The View. In retrospect, she looked at the original rejection as a blessing in disguise.
“As it so happened, that turned out to be a challenging season on The View,” Hostin remarked. “The ratings dipped, Rosie O’Donnell left after only a few months, and Rosie Perez also left. So in a way, I suppose it was a blessing that I didn’t get the job. I probably wouldn’t have lasted, pushed out so they could rebuild the franchise.”