In case you missed it, The View is facing major backlash for mocking Miss Colorado Kelley Johnson's nurse monologue, which spurred the hashtag #NursesUnite and ignited a flurry of Internet outrage.
In spite of the co-hosts' apologies (Michelle Collins said "we love nurses" while Joy Behar insisted her remarks were "stupid and inattentive on my part"), the controversy seems to be only picking up steam as both Johnson & Johnson and Eggland's Best have pulled their advertisements from the show.
Amid the controversy, Miss America Betty Cantrell stopped by E! News on Thursday, where she discussed everything from her small town upbringing to her final thoughts on Deflategate (check back for more on that later!), but first, we had to hear her response to the headline-making nurse debate.
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"I'm really proud of Kelley…and I'm really proud of her for taking the talent portion to speak about what she's passionate about and what's important to her," Cantrell tells E! News. "And she is a nurse, and she's very very passionate about it, and I'm really happy that she told a story like that on the Miss America stage on national television to help people appreciate nurses and what they do for us…I'm proud of Kelley and I say props to her."
Johnson appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show today where she defended her much-buzzed about monologue and admitted that "a lot of people" advised her to choose a different talent.
"It's very unique, but I am a nurse. And that's my talent, taking care of people and caring about other people," she said. "And so I wanted to give the nurses that don't have that voice and that recognition of just somebody going up there and just being a little bit different and unique. And I talked about a patient that I took care of who had Alzheimer's—and I know that that hits home for a lot of people and it's not something that's really easy for people to talk about—and I thought, 'You know, I want to go up there and I want to be authentic. I want to be Kelley. And if I'm ever going to win Miss America I want to do it being myself.' And I'm a nurse!"
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She added: "To see it trend on Facebook and Twitter, especially to bring all these nurses together and have everybody standing up for our profession and giving them the voice that they deserve—they work so hard and they are life savers—that's all the message I wanted to give. It's about them; it's not about me."
Not only did Cantrell defend her friend and the second runner up, but she also expressed her disapproval for the way The View poked fun at Johnson.
"I think it's a little bit ridiculous, I think that people just kind of look for things to make fun of," she admitted. "And it really doesn't matter what she would have done, people would've found a way to make fun of it. And I think that all the girls in the competition felt that, not just Kelley. Everybody's been picked on a little bit."
She also noted that, "you know, no matter what I do, somebody's going to find something wrong with it," before adding, "She's a nurse, and I think she tried to portray that as best she could."