January 31, 2022
Whoopi Goldberg is apologizing for comments she made about the Holocaust on "The View." And she says now the backlash helped her understand why she "upset so many people."
During Monday's episode of the ABC daytime talk show, the EGOT winner, 66, received pushback from her co-hosts — and later from users on Twitter — after claiming the Holocaust, which involved the murder of 6 million Jews and other victims, was not "about race."
Goldberg posted a statement expressing her "sincerest apologies" later on Twitter Monday, also echoing a statement from Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt who wrote that the Holocaust "was about the Nazi’s systematic annihilation of the Jewish people – who they deemed to be an inferior race."
"On today's show, I said the Holocaust 'is not about race, but about man's inhumanity to man.' I should have said it is about both," she wrote. "I stand corrected. The Jewish people around the world have always had my support and that will never waiver. I'm sorry for the hurt I have caused."
On Tuesday's show, she addressed the controversy again saying she "misspoke."
“My words upset so many people, which was never my intention,” she said. “I understand why now and for that I am deeply, deeply grateful because the information I got was really helpful and helped me understand some different things.”
“The View” brought on Greenblatt, who is also author of “It Could Happen Here,” to discuss why her words had been hurtful. He added that the show should consider hiring a Jewish co-host as they're still seeking to fill Meghan McCain's spot since her departure last year.
Goldberg made her initial comments during a discussion about a Tennessee school board banning the book "Maus" from the eighth grade English and language arts curriculum. The McMinn County School Board in eastern Tennessee voted 10-0 earlier this month to ban the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust, citing concerns over "rough" language and a nude drawing of a woman, according to the Jan. 10 meeting minutes posted to the district website.
The graphic novel, written by comic artist Art Spiegelman, tells the story of his Jewish parents living in 1940s Poland and follows them through their internment in Auschwitz. Nazis are portrayed as cats, while Jewish people are shown as mice.
"If you're going to do this, then let's be truthful about it, because the Holocaust isn't about race," Goldberg said Monday. "It's about man's inhumanity to man. That's what it's about."
Co-host Joy Behar chimed in, saying, "Well, they considered Jews a different race," in reference to the Nazis. Anna Navarro also pushed back, saying, "But it's about white supremacy."
But Goldberg doubled down.
"But these are two white groups of people," she said. "You're missing the point. The minute you turn it into race, it goes down this alley. Let's talk about it for what it is. It's how people treat each other. It's a problem. It doesn't matter if you're Black or white, cause Black, white, Jews ... everybody eats each other."
As Goldberg continued, transition music began playing over her.
"If you're uncomfortable … if you hear about 'Maus,' should you be worried?" she added. "Should your child say 'Oh, my God, I wonder if that's me?' No, that's not what they're gonna say. They're gonna say, 'I don't want to be like that.' Most kids, they don't want to be cruel."
The comments drew backlash on Twitter, making Goldberg a top trending item on the social media website Monday.
Greenblatt was among the Twitter users who called out the host.
"(The Nazis) dehumanized them and used this racist propaganda to justify slaughtering 6 million Jews," he added. "Holocaust distortion is dangerous."
StandWithUs, an organization dedicated to education about Israel and fighting anti-Semitism, tweeted that the Holocaust "was driven by multiple factors, and there is no doubt that one of them was Nazi racism against Jews."
"Nazis back then and white supremacists today consider Jews to be a different and inferior race," the organization added, along with a clip of the discussion on "The View."
Jewish conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro argued Goldberg's comments serve as a "way of obscuring and covering for anti-Semitism."
"Whoopi Goldberg explaining that the Holocaust wasn't about race because these were 'two groups of white people' isn't just insipid, it's insidious," he tweeted. "It's downplaying the minority status of Jews in order to uphold ... intersectional arguments that justify anti-Semitism today."
Twitter user @Ring_Sheryl tweeted: "I love Whoopi Goldberg, but the Holocaust wasn't just two white groups fighting and saying that is a really bad take. It was white supremacists doing eugenics to Jews, people of color, queer people, disabled people, and Roma."
"This is insane," tweeted Piers Morgan. "The extermination of 6 million Jews wasn’t about race??? Will any rock stars or renegade royals now boycott Whoopi Goldberg and/or ABC for this dangerous misinformation?"
User @isaacdecastrog tweeted that "Whoopi’s characterization of the Holocaust as being between 'two groups of white people' is further evidence that many Americans are incapable of understanding race and racism through any prism other than theirs."
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