Over the weekend, 52 women from across the United States competed in Atlantic City for the chance at the Miss America crown and a $50,000 scholarship. During the final broadcast on ABC, those 52 women were narrowed down to a top 10 who competed in talent.
Some women sang and others danced. One played a classical piano piece. But, Miss Colorado, Kelley Johnson, did something different.
Wearing dark purple scrubs, white tennis shoes and a stethoscope, she performed a 90 second monologue about the relationship between nurses and their patients, through the story of her time with Joe, a patient of hers with Alzheimer’s.
The performance won Johnson a $20,000 scholarship and a second-runner up finish to Miss Georgia, Betty Cantrell who won the overall title.
Although she didn’t win the crown, Miss Colorado won the Internet after Joy Behar and the other women from The View mocked her talent, calling her scrubs “a costume.”
“…She came in in a nurse’s uniform, and basically read her emails out loud,” comedian and co-host Michelle Collins said of Johnson’s monologue.
“Why does she have a doctor’s stethoscope on?” fellow co-host Joy Behar said during the show.
Enraged nurses and other healthcare professionals took to social media using #NursesUnite and #RespectNurses to show their disappointment with the naïvety of the comments from the women from The View.
On Wednesday, Joy Behar issued an apology during the show and regarded her remark as “stupid and inattentive” for not realizing Johnson was wearing nursing scrubs.
“I didn’t know she was a nurse. I’m used to seeing them in gowns and bathing suits. It is not like I was trying to be funny. It was stupid and inattentive on my part,” Behar said.
But what’s so interesting about Behar’s half-apology was her apparent lack of knowledge about the competition – even though she judged the Miss America pageant in 2011.
That year, the top 10 performed their talents in everything from elaborate gowns to plain dance costumes to jumpsuits. Not to mention that year, a pianist won the competition and her first runner-up was a ventriloquist – a talent about as unique as a monologue about nursing.
That’s why it’s hard to buy her belief that she’s “used to seeing them in gowns and bathing suits.” In the last five years, contestants have performed and worn just about everything – including banging a plastic cup onstage in a plain, blue pantsuit to the “Happy” song by Pharrell.
Behar’s apology just proves that entertainers, celebrities and even journalists don’t have to be attentive or do their research before they comment on national television about current events. If Behar had taken the 90 seconds to watch Miss Colorado’s talent, she would have clearly understood that she was a nurse.
And if she had gone a step further, she would have prepared better questions and comments about her talent instead of naïvely asking why she was wearing a “doctor’s stethoscope.” (There is no difference between a “doctor’s” or a “nurse’s” stethoscope. It’s just a stethoscope.)
In the age of social media, it’s easy to make pre-conceived judgments without watching the video, reading the book or even getting to know the person in question. Even though that behavior doesn’t make sense from a logical standpoint, it’s not uncommon.
For example, last fall, rapper Earl Sweatshirt accused Taylor Swift’s “Shake if Off” video for being racist. Although he was vocal on Twitter about those claims, he never actually watched the video.
Tools like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook can make anyone an anonymous keyboard warrior with a mouthy opinion that can be shared with family and friends instantly.
That same kind of behavior on a national medium is just poor planning and poor journalism.