Whoopi Golberg apologized on Tuesday’s “The View” for her comments on Monday’s show about the Holocaust, saying she now believes “it is indeed about race.”
“So yesterday on our show, I misspoke,” Goldberg said at the top of Tuesday’s show. “And I tweeted about it last night but I kind of what you to hear it from me directly. I said something that I feel a responsibility for not leaving unexamined, because my words upset so many people, which was never my intention. And 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. And while discussing how a Tennessee school board unanimously voted to remove a graphic novel about the Holocaust, I said that the Holocaust wasn’t about race and it was instead about man’s inhumanity to man. But it is indeed about race, because Hitler and the Nazis considered the Jews to be an inferior race. Now, words matter and mine are no exception. I regret my comments as I said and I stand corrected. I also stand with the Jewish people, as they know, and as you all know because I’ve always done that.”
Goldberg then introduced Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, “The View’s” first guest of the day who was invited on to “help continue this very important conversation” after speaking out against Goldberg’s comments on Twitter Monday.
“View” co-host Goldberg first apologized Monday evening after facing criticism from the Anti-Defamation League, the U.S. Holocaust Museum and other Jewish organizations for her remarks on that day’s episode of “The View,” in which she stated that the Holocaust was “not about 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,” Goldberg said in a statement shared on her social media channels at 8:15 p.m. ET. “As Jonathan Greenblatt from the Anti-Defamation League shared, ‘The Holocaust was about the Nazi’s systematic annihilation of the Jewish people — who they deemed to be an inferior race.’ I stand corrected.”
She added: “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.”
Earlier on Monday, Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, responded to “The View” co-host’s comments on Twitter, calling her remarks “dangerous.” “The Holocaust was about the Nazi’s systemic annihilation of the Jewish people — who they deemed to be an inferior race,” Greenblatt wrote. “They dehumanized them and used their racist propaganda to justify slaughtering 6 million Jews. Holocaust distortion is dangerous.”
Goldberg’s comments about the Holocaust were said during a “View” discussion about the Tennessee school board’s ban of “Maus,” a nonfiction graphic novel about cartoonist Art Spiegelman’s father’s experience surviving the Holocaust.
“Let’s be truthful about it because [the] Holocaust isn’t about race,” Goldberg said to her “The View” co-hosts Monday. “It’s not about race. It’s about man’s inhumanity to man… These are two white groups of people. The minute you turn it into race it goes down this alley. Let’s talk about it for what it is. It’s [about] how people treat each other. It doesn’t matter if you’re Black or white, Jews — it’s each other.”
Criticism of Goldberg’s comments was swift, with Jewish organizations, including the U.S. Holocaust Museum and StopAntisemitism.org, quickly refuting her “not about race” claim.
Goldberg told Stephen Colbert on Monday’s “Late Show,” which was taped around 6:15 p.m. ET, prior to her tweet, but aired later in the evening that her comments “upset a lot of people, which was never, ever, ever my intention.”
“I thought we were having a discussion. Because I feel being Black, when we talk about race, it’s a very different thing to me,” Goldberg said. “So I said that I felt that the Holocaust wasn’t about race, and people got very, very, very angry and still are angry. I’m getting, you know, all of the mail from folks, and very real anger because people feel very differently. But I thought it was a salient discussion because, as a Black person, I think of race as being something that I can see. So I see you and I know what race you are, and the discussion was about how I felt about that. I felt that it was really more about man’s inhumanity to man and how horrible people can be to people, and we’re seeing it manifest itself these days. But people were very angry and they said, ‘No, no, we are a race.’ And I understand, I understand. I felt differently, I respect everything everyone is saying to me and I don’t want to fake apologize, you know? I’m very upset that people misunderstood what I was saying and so, because of it, they’re saying that I’m antisemitic and that I’m denying the Holocaust and all these other things which, you know, would never occur to me to do. I thought we were having a discussion about race, which everyone, I think, is having.”
She added: “When you talk about being a racist, I was saying, you can’t call this racism, this was evil. This wasn’t based on the skin, you couldn’t tell who was Jewish. They had to delve deeply to figure it out.”
“My point is, they had to do the work. If the Klan is coming down the street and I’m standing with a Jewish friend and neither one of– well, I’m going to run! But if my friend decides not to run, they’ll get passed by most times because you can’t tell who is Jewish… It’s not something that people say, ‘Oh, that person is Jewish! Or this person is Jewish!’ And so that’s what I was trying to explain,” Goldberg continued. “And I understand that not everybody sees it that way and I did a lot of harm, I guess, to myself and people decided I was all these other things I’m actually not. And I’m incredibly torn up by being told these things about myself and I get it, folks are angry. I accept that and I did it to myself. This was my thought process and I will work hard not to think that way again.”
Goldberg told Colbert what is “interesting” to her was “the Nazis lied,” saying “they had issues with ethnicity, not with race because most of the Nazis were white people and most of the people they were attacking were white people.”
“So to me, I’m thinking, how can you say it’s about race if you are fighting each other? So, it all really began because I said, how will we explain to children what happened in Nazi Germany?” she continued. “I said, this wasn’t racial, this was about white on white. And everybody said, no, no, no, it was racial. So once again, don’t write me anymore, I know how you feel. OK, I already know, I get it and I’m going to take your word for it and never bring it up again.”