‘The View’ Host Sunny Hostin Deals with the ‘Shock’ of Her Ancestors Being White and Owning Slaves

Sunny Hostin was left “in shock” after an appearance on the PBS documentary series Finding Your Roots uncovered she is the descendant of Europeans with ties to slavery. The View co-host said she was “deeply disappointed” to learn of her family’s history.

On Tuesday’s show, Megyn was joined by Daily Mail columnist Maureen Callahan to discuss the revelation and Hostin’s racially charged reaction to it.

Hostin’s Family History

In an episode of Finding Your Roots that premiered last week, host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. revealed that one of Hostin’s maternal ancestors was likely involved in the slave trade in colonial Spain. Her third great-grandfather also “owned at least one human being,” he said.

Hostin, whose mother was born in Puerto Rico and whose father is Black, told Gates she was “a little bit in shock” from the news. “I just always thought of myself as half Puerto Rican,” she said. “I didn’t think my family was originally from Spain and slaveholders.”

The news left Hostin “sorta shocked at the depth of the ties” to Europe. “I’m surprised that they were enslavers, actually,” she said. “That’s disappointing.” She also shared that her mother “certainly identifies as Puerto Rican and non-white.”

She further elaborated on that point on The View on Thursday. “It’s deeply disappointing because my mother really identified as Puerto Rican,” Hostin explained. “She was part of the civil rights movement, and she was deeply ingrained in Black culture and identified herself as Black race but Hispanic for ethnicity… but her race is white. She’s European.”

Hostin also admitted that she always had a hunch there may be more to her identity. “It’s weird because when you look at her, my mother is blond and she has light eyes and my whole family looks like that,” she said. “So, I think inside I sort of knew this was my history and that’s probably why I didn’t want to do [the show].”

Her co-host Joy Behar called the news a “bummer,” but assured Hostin that she is “not responsible” for what her family did. 

For her part, Hostin said her vocal stance on race relations in the United States won’t change. “I still believe in reparations, by the way, so y’all can stop texting me and emailing me and saying that I’m a White girl and I don’t deserve reparations,” she declared. “I still believe this country has a lot to do in terms of racial justice.”

‘How Dare She’

Megyn and Callahan both found Hostin’s reaction stunning. “There’s nothing worse than to find out you’re a white woman… The shame of coming from a white person, the horror,” Megyn quipped. “Who can talk like this?”

As Callahan noted, this information could interfere with the persona Hostin has created for herself. “She’s the self-appointed expert of all things Black America on The View. She knows everything” she noted. “It’s great to see her ego take this hit, but I think it will be short-lived.”

While Hostin may be able to get away with expressing embarrassment over her family tree, Megyn said that wouldn’t be true for most. “Can you imagine the reaction if I went on with Henry Louis Gates and he told me that I have Black members of my family and I was like, ‘I’m deeply disappointed and ashamed,’” she concluded. “How dare she talk about white people like that.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Callahan by tuning in to episode 723 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.