Whoopi Goldberg was suspended for two weeks Tuesday as co-host of The View because of what the head of ABC News called her “wrong and hurtful comments” about Jews and the Holocaust.
The suspension came a day after Goldberg’s comment during a discussion on The View that race was not a factor in the Holocaust.
Several prominent Jewish leaders publicly condemned Goldberg. She apologized mere hours after the remark. Then she apologized again on Tuesday’s morning episode.
“My words upset so many people, which was never my intention,” she said Tuesday morning. “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.”
At the time of the remarks, Goldberg was discussing a Tennessee school board’s decision to remove the book Maus from its curriculum.
Maus deals with the Nazi death camps during World War II, and it opens with Adolf Hitler’s quote about the Jews as a race.
“Let’s be truthful about it, because the Holocaust isn’t about race,” Goldberg said Monday. “It’s about man’s inhumanity to other man.”
“No, it’s not about race,” Goldberg continued, after facing some pushback from her co-hosts.
On Tuesday, Goldberg opened the show by saying, “I misspoke.”
The View brought on Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League and author of It Could Happen Here, later that day to discuss why her words had been hurtful and incorrect.
“I stand corrected,” Goldberg tweeted after interacting with Greenblatt. “With my sincerest apologies.”
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Greenblatt accepted her apology. “Whoopi has been a long-time ally of the Jewish community… and her apology is very much welcome,” he tweeted.
Take a look —
— Whoopi Goldberg (@WhoopiGoldberg) February 1, 2022
Deeply appreciate @WhoopiGoldberg inviting me on to @TheView today to have an important discussion on the importance of educating about the Holocaust. Whoopi has been a long-time ally of the Jewish community and @ADL and her apology is very much welcome. https://t.co/0lCLSgM9vO
— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) February 1, 2022
Other Jewish leaders reacted in The Associated Press.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, praised Goldberg for being outspoken over the years on social issues but said he struggled to understand her statement on the Holocaust.
“The only explanation that I have for it is that there is a new definition of racism that has been put out there in the public recently that defines racism exclusively as the targeting of people of color. And obviously history teaches us otherwise,” Cooper said.
“Everything about Nazi Germany and about the targeting of the Jews and about the Holocaust was about race and racism. That’s the unfortunate, unassailable historic fact,” he said.
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Kenneth L. Marcus, chairman of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, linked Goldberg’s remarks to broader misconceptions of the Holocaust, Jewish identity and antisemitism.
“In her error, she was reflecting a misunderstanding of Jewish identity that is both widespread and dangerous that is sometimes described as erasive antisemitism,” said Marcus, who is the author of ‘The Definition of Anti-Semitism.’
“It is the notion that Jews should be viewed only as being white, privileged oppressors,” he said. “It denies Jewish identity and involves a whitewashing of Jewish history.”
The U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington responded to Goldberg with a tweet.
“Racism was central to Nazi ideology. Jews were not defined by religion, but by race. Nazi racist beliefs fueled genocide and mass murder,” it said.
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However, some leaders defended Goldberg as a well-meaning victim of excessive outrage, even if they took issue with Goldberg’s comments.
Jill Savitt, president and CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, offered a measured view of Goldberg’s comments.
“No one can get into Whoopi Goldberg’s head, … But I think what she’s trying to say is that the Holocaust is about hatred. It’s about inhumanity. It’s about what human beings will do to one another that is inhumane,” Savitt said.
Savitt seemed to acknowledge Goldberg’s remarks as a “mistake,” but she took issue with the audience’s response.
“I think people are not as quick to give anybody the benefit of the doubt these days, which is a shame because in order to work through painful, complicated, difficult issues, especially painful histories,” Savitt said.
“We could give each other a little more grace because people are going to make mistakes or they’re going to say things that offend.”
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ABC President Kim Godwin later suspended Goldberg over the racial comments.
“I have made the decision to suspend Whoopi from ‘The View’ for two weeks effective immediately,” Godwin said in a statement. “The culture at ABC News is one that’s driven, kind, inclusive, respectful, and transparent. Whoopi’s comments do not align with those values.”
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The Horn editorial team and The Associated Press contributed to this article.