After she said the Holocaust “isn’t about race,” everyone from Stephen Colbert to the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League stepped in to correct her.
UPDATE: Whoopi Goldberg has been suspended from The View for two weeks. In a statement, ABC President Kim Godwin said: While 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.
Whoopi Goldberg has apologized for claiming that “the Holocaust isn’t about race” on Monday’s episode of The View.
"Yesterday on our show, I misspoke," Goldberg said near the start of Tuesday’s broadcast, which featured Jonathan Greenblatt, the Anti-Defamation League CEO, as a guest. "I said something that I feel a responsibility for not leaving unexamined, because my words upset so many people, which was never intentional and I understand why now. For that, I'm deeply grateful. The information I got was really helpful and helped me understand some different things.
“Words matter, and mine are no exception,” she added. “I regret my comments and I stand corrected.”
On Monday’s episode of The View, the hosts were discussing the recent banning of Maus in Tennessee schools when Goldberg said that “the Holocaust isn’t about race.” It seemed like the point Goldberg was trying to make was a meandering one about the implications of what humanity is capable of, but what came out instead were offensive comments bordering on erasure. Unsurprisingly, the segment led to a wave of criticism, and by that evening Goldberg was on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to unpack the backlash.
On Colbert, Goldberg had the somber tone of someone who had been angrily tweeted at for 12 hours by masses of people labeling her anti-Semitic and criticizing her comments. “I’m very upset people misunderstood what I was saying,” she said, tiptoeing around an apology. “I feel being black that when we talk about race, it’s a very different thing to me.”
Colbert added some nuance to the conversation, announcing himself as “the white guy” before giving an explanation that was likely carefully written by producers. “It seems to me that whiteness is a construct created by colonial powers during the beginning of the colonial imperialist era in order to exploit other people,” he said. “They could apply to all different kinds of people — the idea of race — and the American experience tends to be based on skin.” His comments displayed a recognition of the issue that Goldberg seemed to miss.
Greenblatt continued the conversation on Tuesday morning, sharing information about the Holocaust and how Maus educated readers about it.
"The first page of Maus, the book you were talking about yesterday, Whoopi, opens with a quote from Hitler, and literally it says: 'The Jews undoubtedly are a race, but they are not human.' Hitler's ideology, the Third Reich, was predicated on the idea that the Aryans, the Germans, were a 'master race,' and the Jews were a subhuman race," Greenblatt said, before describing the genocidal attack as “a racialized antisemitism.”
He then cited the importance of Goldberg recognizing her role in educating others.
“And your platform, Whoopi, is so important using it to educate people that antisemitism remains a clear and present danger,” he continued. “It's a real issue and we've got to confront it, and the racism at the core."