Sage Steele Says Barbara Walters Pushed Her Into Trash Can: ‘This 140-Year-Old Woman Tried to Tackle Me’

The sportscaster claimed the incident happened after a segment about former president Barack Obama on 'The View.' Walters passed away in 2022.

(Photo by Mike Lawrie / Getty Images), (Photo by Neilson Barnard / Getty Images for Woman's Day)

Sage Steele has accused the late Barbara Walters of assaulting her while they were backstage during a taping of The View, Variety reports.

In her interview on The Megyn Kelly Show, the former ESPN sportscaster alleged Walters got a bit physical with her for no apparent reason during an episode of the popular talk show. As the story goes, Steele was backstage in a green room when the late broadcast journalist suddenly elbowed her and caused her to fall into a trash can.

According to Steele, the incident happened after a segment about former president Barack Obama. Steele has made some choice comments about Obama on Jay Cutler's podcast, stating his choice to call himself a Black person was "fascinating" as his Black dad was "nowhere to be found."

"It was Barbara, Whoopi [Goldberg], and myself in the dark green room off to the side," Steele said. "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. I was like, 'What did [she] just do to me? This 140-year-old woman just tried to like tackle me.'"

She continued, "Some of the producers saw it. Whoopi saw it. 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!"

A Walters estate representative stated in response to the accusations in an email to Variety: "I find this impossible to believe and uncharacteristic of Barbara!"

Sage Steele's controversial appearance on Jay Cutler's podcast in 2021 where she spoke on COVID-19 vaccinations, former President Barack Obama's racial identity, and more, resulted in ESPN suspending her. Steele fought back in 2022 with a lawsuit that claimed Disney and ESPN retaliated against her comments by not giving her high-profile assignments. 

According to Steele, ESPN and Disney violated her contract and her free-speech rights. Most recently, Steele announced she was leaving ESPN to be able to practice her first amendments "more freely."

"Having successfully settled my case with ESPN/Disney, I have decided to leave so I can exercise my first amendment rights more freely," Steele said in a statement. "I am grateful for so many wonderful experiences over the past 16 years and am excited for my next chapter!"

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