‘The View’ co-hosts mock Mike Pence’s faith, bring flood of complaints to ABC News

ABC News has been flooded with more than 25,000 phone calls since  “The View” co-hosts mocked Vice President Pence’s Christian faith last week, disrespecting the former governor of Indiana for speaking with Jesus and even suggesting he has a “mental illness.”

Media Research Center President Brent Bozell published an open letter to ABC News after the controversial comments, calling for an apology for the “anti-Christian remarks.” ABC News received 25,363 calls as of early Monday morning from people complaining about the comments made by “The View” co-hosts Sunny Hostin and Joy Behar, according to the MRC.

Hostin said it’s “interesting” that former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman recently said that Pence talks to Jesus and believes Jesus tells him things. Hostin said she is a “faithful” Catholic but doesn’t want her vice president “speaking in tongues.” Behar then said, “It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you… that’s called mental illness.”

Bozell called the conversation a “serious problem,” while saying the comments were “insulting” to all Christians. He also detailed other examples of what he called a “disturbing trend” of ABC and “The View” insulting Christians.

“Make no mistake, the slurs against the vice president’s faith insult millions of Christians and are unacceptable. If there are no on-air apologies after this deplorable episode, Christians will tune out ABC programming across the board. And we will do our best to encourage it,” Bozell wrote.

The MRC, which bills itself as “America’s leading media watchdog in documenting, exposing and neutralizing liberal media bias,” has also reached out to at least five advertisers of “The View.”

“I am sure the advertisers of ‘The View’ will be just as appalled as I am about the anti-Christian remarks made on the show,” Bozell wrote.

Pence himself didn’t appreciate the comments and slammed ABC News Wednesday on C-SPAN.

“To have ABC maintain a broadcast forum that compared Christianity to mental illness is just wrong,” Pence said. “It is simply wrong for ABC to have a television program that expresses that kind of religious intolerance.”

Pence has also criticized “The View” in recent interviews with Fox News and Axios. 

The controversy has resulted in a variety of industry watchdogs suggesting it would be wise for ABC News to divorce itself from the show that typically features four outspoken liberals and a single conservative.

“It's a pure opinion and infotainment program and therefore should be under its entertainment division,” The Hill media columnist Joe Concha told Fox News.

“The View” addressed the controversy on Thursday and Behar didn’t exactly apologize.

“I don’t mean to offend people but apparently I keep doing it,” she said. “It was a joke.” 

The Media Research Center initially emailed supporters on Thursday morning with a message titled, “Don't let ABC get away with this.” The email reiterated the offensive comments made by Behar and Hostin and states, “We need to stand up against these bullies and bigots and let them know that we will not stand for such disgraceful and prejudiced behavior.”

The MRC said that “religious bigotry and hypocrisy cannot and will not be tolerated” and posted the phone number to contact ABC News executives with complaints.

ABC News declined a request for comment. 

Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.