Whoopi Goldberg was fired as co-host of “The View” on Tuesday for making “wrong and insensitive statements” regarding Jews and the Holocaust, according to the chairman of ABC News.
“While Whoopi has apologized, I’ve encouraged her to think and learn about the consequences of her remarks. In a statement, ABC News President Kim Godwin stated, “The entire ABC News organization stands in solidarity with our Jewish colleagues, friends, family, and communities.”
The ban occurred a day after Goldberg said during a “View” discussion that race had no bearing on the Holocaust. Several prominent Jewish leaders condemned Goldberg’s original statement, which he apologized for hours later and again on Tuesday’s morning broadcast.
“I never intended for my statements to offend so many people,” she remarked Tuesday morning. “Now I understand why, and for that I am eternally thankful since the knowledge I received was quite useful and helped me grasp a variety of issues.”
Goldberg made her initial remarks during a Monday program segment regarding a Tennessee school board’s decision to prohibit “Maus,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about Nazi death camps during WWII. “It’s not about race,” she remarked, “it’s about man’s inhumanity to other man.”
“I misspoke,” Goldberg said at the start of the show on Tuesday.
The uproar over Goldberg’s words this week underlined the underlying complexities of several race-related topics, such as the widely held but hotly debated belief that racism solely affects people of color.
Godwin issued a statement saying, “Effective now, I am suspending Whoopi Goldberg for two weeks for her incorrect and nasty statements.”
On Tuesday, Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League and author of “It Could Happen Here,” appeared on “The View” to talk about why her statements were offensive.
“At the moment, Jewish people feel threatened,” Greenblatt remarked.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, assistant dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, lauded Goldberg for her outspokenness on social problems throughout the years, but said he couldn’t comprehend her Holocaust comment.
“The only answer I have is that there is a new definition of racism that has lately been circulated in the public that defines racism only as the targeting of persons of color.” “Of course, history tells us otherwise,” Cooper added.
“Everything about Nazi Germany, the persecution of Jews, and the Holocaust was based on race and prejudice.” He stated, “That is the regrettable, indisputable historical fact.”
Goldberg’s comments were connected by Kenneth L. Marcus, head of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, to wider misunderstandings about the Holocaust, Jewish identity, and antisemitism.
“In her mistake, she was expressing a pervasive and harmful misunderstanding of Jewish identity that is often referred to as erasive antisemitism,” Marcus, author of “The Definition of Anti-Semitism,” stated.
“It’s the idea that Jews should only be seen as white, wealthy oppressors,” he explained. “It is a whitewashing of Jewish history and a denial of Jewish identity.”
Marcus mentioned anti-Jewish tropes such as “strong, domineering, and menacing,” as well as downplaying or denying antisemitism.
The National Center for Civil and Human Rights’ president and CEO, Jill Savitt, took a cautious approach to Goldberg’s remarks.
“No one can get inside Whoopi Goldberg’s thoughts,” says one source. But I believe she is implying that the Holocaust was about hatred. It all comes down to inhumanity. “It’s about what horrible human beings will do to one another,” Savitt added.
She believes that complex situations need more than assigning blame.
“I believe people are less willing to give others the benefit of the doubt these days, which is a pity because we should offer each other a little more grace because people are going to make errors or say things that offend,” Savitt said.
Because of the country’s diversity, being Jewish is rarely perceived in racial terms in Israel. However, Jewish identity is much more than religion. The term “Jewish people” or “Jewish nation” is used by Israelis to describe a group or civilization united by a shared history, culture, language, and customs, as well as strong links to Jewish communities across the world.
On Monday’s episode of “The View,” Goldberg, who is Black, expressed astonishment that some Tennessee school board members were uncomfortable with “Maus'” nudity.
“I mean, it’s about the Holocaust, and 6 million people were killed, but that didn’t concern you?” she asked. “Let’s be honest about it if you’re going to do this.” Because the Holocaust had nothing to do with race. No, it has nothing to do with race.”
Despite opposition from several of her fellow panelists, she stuck to her guns.
With a tweet, the US Holocaust Museum in Washington reacted to Goldberg.
“Racism was at the heart of Nazi ideology.” Jews were characterized by their race rather than their faith. It said that “Nazi racial ideologies spurred genocide and mass slaughter.”
The tweet also provided a link to the museum’s online encyclopedia, which said that the Nazis blamed unfavorable preconceptions about Jews on their inherent ethnic origin.
While Jews are not a race, Nazis used Judaism to build a racial hierarchy that “derived this, it should be stated, from the American discussion about racial supremacy and eugenics,” according to Savitt.
There were also calls for Goldberg’s firing on Twitter, where it looked to get caught up in the traditional left-right arguments.
Greenblatt suggested that the talk show, which is looking for a new co-host after Meghan McCain’s departure last summer, hire a Jewish woman to keep the problem of antisemitism front and center.