‘Red Table Talk’: In Loving Memory of the Wildest Moments
R.I.P. to one of the best talk shows in the game. Red Table Talk will no longer air on Facebook Watch after parent company Meta shuttered all of its Facebook Watch shows for a pivot to VR programming.
Hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Norris, the three generations of women artfully explored difficult topics like monogamy, assault, and Jordyn Woods’ very public fallout with the Kardashian family. “To be able to sit [as] three black women and see the variety of perspectives is really interesting because I know a lot of people just like to put black women in one big old pot,” Pinkett Smith told Rolling Stone of the show in 2021. “That myth has to be dissolved.”
Released in 2018, the show won a 2021 Daytime Emmy in the Outstanding Informative Talk Dhow category and later created a spinoff, The Estefans— featuring Cuban singer Gloria Estefan. It also spawned dozens of major cultural moments during its five-year run, becoming Facebook Watch’s most successful (and memorable) series. It’s a true skill to be able to balance incredibly comedic conversations with hard-hitting and emotional confessions. Even though it’s clear that Meta must be brought to the Red Table for a public apology, the cancelation doesn’t mean it’s the last people have seen the talk show. In a statement shared on Instagram Thursday, the show announced it would begin searching for a new home.
“We are so grateful to have had such a beautiful partnership with Facebook Watch and we are sorry to see the entire team disband,” Red Table Talk said in a statement on Instagram. “We at Red Table are in talks of finding a new home, and we’ll see you soon.”
So while we wait for a new streaming overlord to save the classic talk show, here’s a look back at some of the most explosive moments at the Red Table.
Jordyn Woods v. The Kardashians
Long before Call Her Daddy became the podcast for celebrities to air their grievances and beg forgiveness, there were three women and a bright red table. No tell-all interview spooked the internet like Jordyn Woods’ turn at the mic. The former best friend of Keeping Up With Kardashians star Kylie Jenner, Woods was only 21 when she went on the talk show to discuss her interactions with basketball player Tristan Thompson. Thompson, who was in a relationship with Khloé Kardashian at the time, was accused of cheating on Kardashian with Woods. While Woods said she did not sleep with him, she did apologize on the show for kissing him and lying about it.
“I just knew how much turmoil was going on that I was like, ‘Let me not just throw more fuel on the fire,'” Woods said. “I know I was trying to protect Khloé’s heart. She doesn’t deserve this either. People have even dehumanized her in this situation where they can’t feel for her. And it’s not fair that she has to deal with this either. And the last thing I wanted to do was be that person. I’m not homewrecker. I would never try to hurt someone’s home, especially someone that I love and someone who has a beautiful daughter. I never was trying to steal someone’s man. I don’t need your situation. I really just hurt so many more people by not telling the truth.”
Constance Wu Speaks Out
When Fresh Off The Boat was renewed for a sixth and final season, star Constance Wu drew major backlash for her tweets bemoaning its renewal. But behind the scenes, she said she was really struggling. During her Red Table Talk appearance, Wu revealed that she didn’t want to keep working on the show because she was allegedly sexually harassed by a Fresh Off The Boat producer.
“Because this show was sort of a beacon of representation for Asian Americans, and I sort of became a symbol of representation, I didn’t want to sully the one show with sexual harassment claims against the one Asian American man who was doing all this better work for the community,” Wu said on the show. “So I think that’s sort of what happened when I tweeted that stuff. It seemed out of character if you don’t know me and don’t know all the pain and abuse I had to swallow for years.”
Varsity Blues and Olivia Jade
What’s better than one nepo baby? A nepo baby and her extremely public downfall. Influencer Olivia Jade Giannulli went on Red Table Talk to discuss the college admissions scandal for the first time. Her parents, actress Lori Loughlin and designer Mossimo Giannulli, paid for her acceptance into the University of Southern California by pretending she was an experienced rower — a lie that got them thrown in jail.
“I think what was important was for me to come here and say, ‘I’m sorry. I acknowledge what was wrong.’ “Giannulli said. “And I wasn’t able to say that for so long. So I think people almost thought, ‘Oh, she must not care.’”
But while she was allowed to use the platform to apologize, one of the show’s hosts didn’t make it easy for her. “I just found it really ironic that she chose three Black women to reach out to for her redemption story,” Banfield-Norris said, explaining why she didn’t want Jade to come on the show. “I feel like here we are, a white woman coming to Black women for support when we don’t get the same from them. It’s bothersome to me on so many levels. Her being here is the epitome of white privilege.”
The greatest talk shows know how to pick the best guests. So after weeks of headlines about Pinkett Smith and her husband Will Smith’s relationship, the host did the only thing she could: She brought herself to the red table.
While the episode revolved around the Twitter-shattering claim from R&B singer August Alsina that he and Pinkett Smith were involved in the past with Smith’s blessing, the show artfully navigated away from any hard details. Instead, in a surprise 12-minute episode, the show turned the revelation of a four-year “entanglement” between Pinkett Smith and Alsina into a reflection on the Smith’s relationship journey.
“One of the things I want to clear up that was kind of swirling in the press was you giving permission, which the only person who can give permission in that particular circumstance is myself,” Pinkett Smith said. “But what August was actually trying to communicate — because I could actually see how he would perceive it as permission because we were separated amicably — I think he also wanted to make it clear that he’s not a homewrecker, which he’s not.”
It was the episode that launched a thousand memes. But internet humor aside, it also cemented the talk show’s reputation as one not willing to shy away from the hard (and viral) news. Let’s pray another streaming service feels the same way and gives Red Table Talk the new platform it deserves.
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