Former ESPN anchor Sage Steele claimed Barbara Walters tried to ‘beat her up’ backstage in 2014.
Sage, who recently left ESPN after settling a lawsuit with the sports network, claimed she had a run-in with Walters, who died in December 2022 at age 93, backstage at The View in 2014.
‘It was Barbara, Whoopi [Goldberg], and myself in the dark green room off to the side,’ Steele recalled on Thursday’s episode of ‘The Megyn Kelly Show.”I was probably about four feet from the wall and the trash can, and Barbara was standing over here in front of me. She just started to back up toward me and looked at me and got close and elbowed me, and it pushed me back into the wall and the trash can,’ alleged Steele.
‘I was like, ‘What did [she] just do to me? This 140-year-old woman just tried to, like, tackle me.’
‘Some of the producers saw it. Whoopi saw it,’ Steele continued. ‘And Whoopi was like, ‘Come here.’ She was great. She pulled me aside in her little area and she’s like, ‘Don’t you let her do it.’ And I’m like, ‘Am I in a movie right now? One of the legends in this industry just tried to beat me up!”
In a statement to The New York Post, a representative for Walters’ estate said: ‘I find this impossible to believe and uncharacteristic of Barbara!’
Steele’s claims come just days after she left ESPN, following 16 years with the sports broadcasting giant.
‘Life update,’ Steele’s post on X, formerly Twitter, began. ‘Having successfully settled my case with ESPN/Disney, I have decided to leave so I can exercise my first amendment rights more freely. I am grateful for so many wonderful experiences over the past 16 years and am excited for my next chapter!’
Steele sued the network in April of 2022 after claiming that ESPN violated her First Amendment rights and Connecticut free-speech laws by suspending her over comments about former President Barack Obama and the COVID-19 vaccine.
The ban was handed down in October of 2021 following Steele’s interview on Jay Cutler’s podcast, in which she dismissed COVID-19 vaccine mandates, criticized women who dress provocatively, and took issue with Obama’s claims that he’s African American.
Terms of the settlement have not been revealed. Front Office Sports previously reported that Steele was offered $501,000 by the network to drop her lawsuit.
Steele did issue an apology at the time of the suspension.