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Jeanine Pirro called Whoopi Goldberg's treatment on 'The View' 'abuse,' but was it?

Korin Miller
Writer
Whoopi Goldberg, left, and Jeanine Pirro clashed on set and behind the scenes of The View; now Pirro is calling her comments “abuse.” (Photo: Getty Images)

The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg and guest Jeanine Pirro had an attention-grabbing argument on Thursday’s show, and according to reports, it didn’t stop when the cameras did.

During the show, Pirro, who is a supporter of President Trump, a Fox News host, and author of the new book Liars, Leakers, and Liberals: The Case Against the Anti-Trump Conspiracy, accused the liberal Goldberg of having what she termed “Trump derangement syndrome.” Referring to Trump, Goldberg said, “I have never seen anybody whip up such hate.”

The two then started shouting. Pirro said, “You know what’s horrible? When people who shouldn’t be here end up murdering the children of American citizens!” Goldberg responded, “You know what’s horrible? When the president of the United States whips up people to beat the hell out of people. … Say goodbye. I’m done!”

The show went to break, and Pirro left the stage. But Page Six reported Thursday that Pirro tried to continue the argument off-camera: “Backstage when the two crossed paths, a source told us, ‘Jeanine tried telling her she’s fought for victims her whole life.’ That’s when ‘Whoopi got in her face and said that they’ve known each other a long time, but still, “F*** you, get the f*** out of this building.” Jeanine looked stunned.’”

“I can go toe to toe with anybody, but that was abuse,” Pirro later said on Fox & Friends. “It was a sad moment.” Some people are taking issue on social media with Pirro’s choice of the word “abuse,” but while there are extremes with abuse, there can also be a gray area, psychologist Paul Coleman, author of Finding Peace When Your Heart Is in Pieces: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Other Side of Grief, Loss, and Pain, tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

“The word ‘abuse’ should be reserved for words or actions that are clearly aggressive, intimidating, harassing, and otherwise toxic,” he says. “It is a form of purposeful mistreatment. What we might call ordinary rude or disrespectful behavior might or might not be abusive, depending upon how egregious the action.”

Verbal abuse usually takes the form of put-downs, insults, attempts to control the other, and blaming without any regard for one’s own actions, Coleman says. “Verbal abuse makes the receiver of the abuse feel intimidated, belittled, unfairly mistreated — all with no attempt by the abuser to apologize quickly and de-escalate,” he adds. That can lead a victim to feel scared, defensive, and maybe even helpless or angry, he says.

That’s different from an argument, which can be impolite but not cause anyone to feel abused. “They may feel misjudged, aggravated, or frustrated but not threatened, intimidated, or demeaned,” Coleman says. However, if an argument is chronic and unrelenting, with no resolution or apologies made, it can be regarded as abusive, he says.

If one person in a relationship or friendship feels that the other person’s words are abusive, but the other doesn’t agree, it’s best for that person to try to alter his or her way of speaking to see if that helps, he says.

Ultimately, it’s unlikely that the confrontation that occurred off-camera was abusive in the standard sense, but it’s understandable if Pirro didn’t feel great about it afterward.

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