When former “Cosby Show” moppet Raven-Symone came to “The View” earlier this year, some wondered whether her penchant for heated rhetoric might give the show a bit of a kick in the pants. She would be the youngest co-host with the most interesting hair. And, after her comments to Oprah last year that she doesn’t identify as gay or African-American — though Raven-Symone’s parents are black and she was dating a woman at the time — some thought Symone to be a master at fueling identity-politics hashtag wars on Twitter.
Since she came to the show, Symone has lived up to expectations. Most recently, she criticized the black student dragged out of a classroom by a white sheriff’s deputy in Columbia, S.C.
“You’ve got to follow the rules in school,” Symone said. Later, she appeared to take a few steps back from that statement, saying: “There’s an issue with police officers in predominantly minority type of schools taking kids for disorderly conduct right to prison. … That is a problem.”
But the remark was noted — and, indeed, helped inspire an online petition that calls for ABC to remove Symone from “The View.” Days after it was posted, the petition has garnered more than 128,000 signatures.
“Raven Symone has been spouting her ignorant and self hating spiel on the view for Long [sic] enough, from stating that she wouldn’t hire somebody for having a ghetto name, to openly complaining about reverse racism,” the petition read. “… 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 … Raven Symone cannot provide that.”
The petition was posted by Che Scott-Heron, who said she is the daughter of performer Gil Scott-Heron — the iconic, politically-minded black performance artist and author of, among many other works, the “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.”
“We all sit around and rant about Raven on social media but rarely do anything to make change,” Che Scott-Heron wrote in a comment on the petition. “My father Gil Scott-Heron taught me to ‘either contribute or shut up’ and thats exactly what I did.”
ABC has responded to the petition, and it is sticking by its co-host.
“We love Raven,” the network said in a statement, as Us magazine reported. “She is confident, genuine and opinionated, all qualities that make her a great addition to the panel.”
The “View” dust-up after the Columbia arrest is just the latest in which Symone has played a starring role. Just weeks ago, she felt “very discriminatory” against first names some might view as African American.
“I’m not about to hire you if your name is Watermelondrea,” she said of a name floated in a widely-viewed satirical YouTube video called “Top 60 Ghetto Black Names.” “It’s just not gonna happen. I’m not gonna hire you.”
Symone later apologized.
“My comment was in poor taste,” she said. “My lack of empathy towards name discrimination was uncalled for.”
Meanwhile, a group of students at Spring Valley High School, where deputy Ben Fields was fired after arresting the student last week, walked out of class on Friday to show support for him.
“He didn’t have to take it that far, but [the student] should have listened at the same time,” DeJuan Lino, who participated in the protest, told the State, calling Fields a “nice guy.”