Barbara Walters was the queen of provocative questions – and apparently an even tougher elbow-slinger.
Sage Steele, the former ESPN host who recently left the sports network after a legal dispute was settled, claimed that she had an altercation with the late Barbara Walters backstage in 2014 on The View.
“It was Barbara, Whoopi [Goldberg]and me in the dark green room next to it,” Steele recalled of the episode of ” “The Megyn Kelly Show.”
“I was probably about three feet from the wall and the trash can, and Barbara was standing here in front of me. She just started backing towards me, looked at me, came closer and elbowed me and that pushed me back against the wall and the bin,” claimed Steele, 50, of the news icon, who released in December 2022 died of old age 93.
“I thought, ‘What did that do?’ [she] just do with me? “This 140-year-old woman just tried to attack me.”
“Some of the producers saw it. Whoopi saw it,” Steele continued. “And Whoopi said, ‘Come here.’ She was great. She pulled me aside in her little space and said, ‘Don’t let her do that.’ And I’m like, ‘Am I in a movie right now?’ One of the legends of this industry just tried to beat me up!’ ”
When asked by the Post, a representative of the Walters estate said in a statement, “I find this impossible to believe and uncharacteristic of Barbara!”
The Post has also reached out to representatives from Steele, Goldberg and The View for comment.
In 2021, Steele spoke about the Uncut with Jay Cutler Podcast. about appearing on The View when she said Walters “had me on live TV and after” and why it was “so important” for her to identify as biracial while former President Barack Obama only identified as a black male.
Steele called the way Obama identified himself “intriguing, considering his black father was nowhere to be found.”
The podcast appearance, in which Steele also spoke about being forced to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and controversial views on how women dress, led to ESPN pulling her from the show.
Steele then filed a lawsuit against ESPN and its parent company Disney, alleging that the network retaliated against her after the interview by depriving her of high-profile assignments and also alleging that by doing so they violated her right to free speech.
On Tuesday, Steele announced that she had settled her lawsuit against ESPN and was leaving the company.
“After successfully resolving my case with ESPN/Disney, I have decided to leave so I can exercise my first edit rights more freely,” Steele wrote in a statement. “I am grateful for so many wonderful experiences over the past 16 years and I look forward to my next chapter!”
Walters died at her home last year after reportedly suffering from advanced dementia.