MANHATTAN (CN) – A former producer for “The View” claims in court that Rosie O’Donnell got her canned by making bogus claims that she leaked information about the talk show host to the media.
Jennifer Shepard-Brookman accuses O’Donnell, who left the show in 2007 and came back in 2014, of being a hot-headed bully who resented Whoopi Goldberg for taking her moderator seat on the daytime talk show founded by the now-retired Barbara Walters.
Brookman says the left-leaning, openly gay comedian falsely accused her of “teaming” with Goldberg and conspiring to steal a story about the beheading of journalist James Foley by ISIL. The former producer sued O’Donnell in Manhattan Supreme Court on Thursday.
“At that time, Ms. O’Donnell intimidated Ms. Brookman by screaming that she ‘owned’ the story and was upset that Ms. Goldberg covered the story, and by grabbing the arms of the chair in which Ms. Bookman was sitting, leaning very close to her face and prohibiting her from leaving,” her 11-page lawsuit states.
O’Donnell then publicly accused Brookman at least twice in January on the set of the ABC talk show of “betraying professional and personal confidences” for leaking information about O’Donnell to the press, according to the complaint. Brookman, who started working for the show in 2001, says the statements were “solely motivated by personal spite and ill will.”
“To be clear, Ms. Brookman denies that she ever leaked any such information about the show to the media,” the complaint states.
The accusations caused the former producer to “suffer intense emotional distress, anxiety and lack of sleep, destroyed her professional reputation, and led to her termination of employment,” according to her lawsuit. She says O’Donnell would launch into fits of rage against the show’s producers during her first stint on the show.
After O’Donnell left, Goldberg took over as the talk show’s moderator. O’Donnell returned in 2014 but resented being second banana to the Oscar-winning actress on the show, according to Brookman.
The lawsuit claims that O’Donnell tried to “assert control over the show and to reclaim the role as the moderator,” and tried to take news story coverage from Goldberg.
O’Donnell’s “acrimonious relationship” with the other co-hosts of the show has been well-publicized, the complaint states.
It’s been reported that O’Donnell’s a “malcontent” who was “bringing down” the show, she has a hard time “playing second fiddle” to Goldberg, and she tries to micromanage production, according to Brookman’s lawsuit.
Things came to a head when O’Donnell sought to wrest control of coverage of the Bill Cosby rape scandal and the Ferguson, Mo., police shooting, the lawsuit states.
O’Donnell was also reportedly upset that she didn’t get to interview former model Beverly Johnson about her allegations of drugging and attempted rape by Cosby, according to the complaint.
Brookman seeks unspecified damages for slander. She is represented by Brian Kennedy in Manhattan.
O’Donnell’s attorney denied the allegations Monday.
“The allegations that have been made by Jennifer Brookman against Rosie O’Donnell are baseless and Ms. O’Donnell will defend herself vigorously in court,” Nicolle Jacoby told Courthouse News in a statement.
O’Donnell made headlines during her first stint on the show after she had an on-air spat over troops in Afghanistan with former co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck, a “Survivor” alum who rose to fame as the show’s most conservative voice.
Hasselbeck, who placed fourth on the second season of “Survivor,” left “The View” in 2013. Walters left in 2014.
Goldberg is a show-biz anomaly colloquially known as an EGOT – a winner of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and a Tony. She’s currently still in the host’s chair on the show.
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