Back at it. Whoopi Goldberg returned to The View on Monday, February 14, following a two-week suspension for her controversial comments about the holocaust.
“I gotta tell you there’s something kind of marvelous about being on a show like this — because we are The View and this is what we do,” the 66-year-old actress said at the top of the show, noting how much she “missed” her cohosts. “And sometimes we don’t do it as elegantly as we could. But it’s five minutes to get in important information about topics. And that’s what we try to do every day.”
The Sister Act star thanked “everybody who reach out” to her during her brief hiatus, explaining that she learned a lot from those who spoke out.
“I’m telling you, people reached out from places that made me go, ‘Wait, wait, what? Really?’ And it was amazing,” Goldberg continued. “And I listened to everything everybody had to say. And I was very grateful.”
The Ghost actress didn’t directly address her past comments, but she did point out how moved she is to have so many people interested and engaged in what the show does every week.
“I hope it keeps all the important conversations happening because we’re going to keep having tough conversations. And in part, because this is what we’ve been hired to do,” she concluded. “And it’s not always pretty, as I said, and it’s not always as other people would like to hear. But it is an honor to sit at this table and be able to have these conversations because they’re important. They’re important to us as a nation, and to us more so as a human entity.”
Goldberg sparked controversy during the January 31 episode of the talk show when the women on the panel were discussing schools that recently banned books. One institution took issue with a graphic novel by Art Spiegelman about the Holocaust called Maus, which resulted in the comedian’s questionable remark.
“Let’s be truthful about it because [the] Holocaust isn’t about race. It’s not about race. It’s about man’s inhumanity to man,” Goldberg said.
Cohost Joy Behar explained that the Nazis considered Jewish a race while host Ana Navarro pointed out that the Holocaust was about white supremacy. The Lion King actress, however, doubled down on her stance.
“But these are two white groups of people!” the EGOT winner, who has said in the past that she identifies as Jewish, continued. “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 doesn’t matter if you’re Black or white, Jews, it’s each other.”
Goldberg later apologized for her comments after drawing criticism from Jewish organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League and the U.S. Holocaust Museum.
“It upset a lot of people, which was never ever, ever my intention. 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 know what race you are,” the New York native said on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert the same day. “I thought it [the Holocaust] was more about man’s inhumanity to man. … People said, ‘No, no, we are a race.’ I felt differently. I respect everything everyone is saying to me.”
Goldberg added: “I don’t want to fake apologize. I am very upset that people misunderstood what I was saying. And because of it they are saying I am anti-Semitic and denying the Holocaust and all these other things that would never occur to me to do.”
The Color Purple actress then issued a public apology via Twitter and again took ownership for her insensitive remarks during the February 1 episode of The View.
Later that evening, however, ABC News announced that Goldberg was suspended for two weeks for her “wrong and hurtful comments.”
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The network’s president, Kim Godwin, acknowledged in a February 1 statement that although “Whoopi has apologized, I’ve asked her to take time to reflect and learn about the impact of her comments. The entire ABC News organization stands in solidarity with our Jewish colleagues, friends, family and communities.”
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