Actress and television personality Jenny McCarthy defended her positive reaction to Rudy Giuliani's appearance on The Masked Singer where she serves as a judge.
Giuliani—a former New York City Mayor who faced considerable criticism for representing former Republican President Donald Trump in numerous legal cases as part of a concerted effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election—was unmasked on the April 20 episode of The Masked Singer.
The reality singing competition—where celebrities sing while wearing head-to-toe costumes and face masks concealing their identities—is not known for making political statements. But Giuliani's appearance sparked outrage from some members of the judges' panel who did not want to look past Giuliani's involvement in the attempted coup during the January 6 violent insurrection.
Giuliani's participation prompted judge Ken Jeong to declare "I'm done" before walking off set. Fellow judge Robin Thicke also walked out shortly after Jeong.
But McCarthy and judge Nicole Scherzinger stayed and danced as Giuliani sang a rendition of George Thorogood And The Destroyers' "Bad to the Bone."
While speaking to Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live, McCarthy defended her reaction.
She claimed seeing such a "polarizing" figure unmasked left her "completely shocked."
“You know, like everyone that gets unmasked, I [was] completely shocked. You know, everyone is in their own wheelhouse with how they handle their shock."
"The fact it was a political figure that was polarizing to half the country was hard."
"I'm from the Midwest. I have plenty of family that [didn’t] have a problem with it.”
McCarthy said she chose to support Giuliani like any other celebrity contestant.
The noted antivaxxer added she hoped to unite "both sides" of the political aisle.
“I kind of checked in with myself at that moment and said I'm going to be a professional and I'm going to hope that this show brings together both sides. There has to be some place where everyone can just be entertained."
"The fact that Rudy Giuliani was there for his grandchildren. He wasn't there to run a campaign."
"I was just like, I will stand here and finish the show and give him at least that.”
When asked why he'd chosen to appear on the program despite the controversy surrounding him, Giuliani replied he'd come for his granddaughter, Grace, saying he wants her "to know that you should try everything, even things that are completely unlike you and unlikely."
However, Giuliani's appearance did not resonate with viewers who criticized The Masked Singer's production team for inviting Giuliani to participate given he played a vital role in the effort to overturn the 2020 election that multiple sources—from both sides of the aisle—determined was both free and fair.
McCarthy's justification did not help, exposing her to significant renewed criticism.
Giuliani's appearance on The Masked Singer came after more than a year of him making unsavory headlines for filing lawsuits in an effort to overturn the election results and for sharing debunked conspiracy theories.
His efforts have not been without consequences.
In July 2021, Giuliani claimed he is the victim of “political persecution” after his law license was suspended in Washington, D.C. The suspension was triggered automatically by Giuliani’s suspension the previous month from practicing law in the state of New York.
A New York appellate court officially suspended Giuliani’s law license, writing in a 33-page decision he made “demonstrably false and misleading” statements about the 2020 election while working as Trump’s personal attorney.
McCarthy herself is a polarizing figure.
Prior to her new gig on The Masked Singer, McCarthy was best known for promoting the disproven conspiracy theory that childhood vaccinations cause autism. Her antivaxxer activism and book breathed more life into the anti-vaccine movement.
Some have cited McCarthy as a responsible party in whooping cough, measles, polio and other illnesses making comebacks in the United States after years of controlled contagion.