Sunny Hostin is throwing her support behind Kanye West, who says he has been barred from performing at the Grammy Awards due to his "concerning online behavior." While Hostin insisted she's not a "Kanye West apologist," she said that preventing him from performing could be a violation of his freedom of speech, and she accused the Grammys of using "the stigma of mental health" to push him out. "I don't know yet that he is this violent person that should be shunned from society and his art taken away from him," said Hostin. "I'm very uncomfortable with this."
Over the weekend, Ye's representatives confirmed that the rapper had been pulled from the Grammys in the wake of his recent attacks on ex-wife Kim Kardashian, Pete Davidson, and Trevor Noah. Noah has been particularly vocal about Ye, who called him a racial slur in a post that ultimately led to a 24-hour Instagram suspension, but after news of the Grammys suspension broke, The Daily Show host advocated for a different approach, writing, "I said counsel Kanye not cancel Kanye."
By Monday morning, the debacle made its way to The View, where Hostin was the only co-host to defend Ye. "I'm very uncomfortable with banning him from performing," she said. "Performance is an art, and it's speech in many instances. The fact that, yes, he's been on social media — that's his right. That's free speech. They took him down, I think he's back."
"You know, where do we draw the line? I believe in consequence culture; I don't believe in cancel culture," she continued. "And I feel that he is, because of the stigma of mental health, I think he is being stigmatized. Bottom line is, people that are mentally ill — he's been diagnosed with bipolar disorder — are much less likely to commit violence than have violence enacted upon them."
When Sara Haines said that Ye shouldn't be put "in situations where, even if there's no physical threat, the very host of this award show was threatened by him," Hostin pushed back. "He wasn't threatened. He was called a racial slur," she said. "I'm not a Kanye West apologist. I'm talking about the actual policy."
"But it could feel threatening face-to-face. If you were to call me something, and we're standing—" replied Haines. "But he's saying he's not threatened," Hostin said of Noah. "He's saying he doesn't want him to be banned."
Ana Navarro then chimed in to say that whether or not Ye is violent, he has "millions of very loyal fans who get ginned up by the things he's been posting against Pete Davidson," Kardashian, and Noah. "Once you give that guy the mic, he's gonna do with it whatever he wants," she said.
"Yeah, but we have something called the First Amendment in this country," replied Hostin. "We have freedom of speech. We have freedom of expression. And we're canceling Kanye West for something he may do!"
The 64th Grammy Awards aren't until April 3, so expect this discussion to continue to play out over the next few weeks.
Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.
TOPICS: Sunny Hostin, The Grammy Awards, The View, Ana Navarro, Kanye West, Sara Haines