Iconic Hollywood star and TV host Whoopi Goldberg was suspended from popular morning show “The View” on Tuesday, Feb. 1, by ABC News President Kim Godwin after making inaccurate claims about the Holocaust.
“Effective immediately, I am suspending Whoopi Goldberg for two weeks for her wrong and hurtful comments,” Godwin said in a statement. “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,” Godwin’s statement concluded.
During the show on Monday, Jan. 31, Goldberg said the Holocaust was “not about race, but man’s inhumanity to man.” She then went on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” to explain her comments and reiterated her point.
She received widespread backlash from the Jewish community and allies who noted Adolf Hitler was obsessed with creating a pure Aryan race. Goldberg then issued a written apology, noting that she misspoke.
“On today’s show, I said the Holocaust ‘is not about race, but about man’s inhumanity to man.’ I should have said both,” Goldberg tweeted Monday night. “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 an inferior race.’ I stand corrected.”
Goldberg 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.”
Goldberg doubled-down on her apology Tuesday on “The View” and brought Greenblatt, who is the president of the Anti-Defamation League, on to further discuss the matter.
“Yesterday on our show, I misspoke. I tweeted about it last night but I want you to hear it from me directly,” Goldberg said. “I said something that I feel a responsibility for not leaving unexamined, because my words upset so many people, which was never my intention. I understand why now, and for that I am deeply, deeply grateful because the information I got was really helpful, and it helped me understand some different things.
“I said the Holocaust wasn’t about race and was instead about man’s inhumanity to man, but it is indeed about race because Hitler and the Nazis considered Jews to be an inferior race,’ Goldberg continued. “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 y’all know, because I’ve always done that.”
Greenblatt said he accepted Goldberg’s apology.
“Deeply appreciate @WhoopiGoldberg inviting me on to @TheView today to have an important discussion on the importance of educating about the Holocaust,” Greenblatt tweeted. “Whoopi has been a long-time ally of the Jewish community and @ADL and her apology is very much welcome.”
Godwin still suspended Goldberg and explained her reasoning in an internal memo to staffers obtained by CNN. She noted that making such decisions was “never easy” and she appreciated Goldberg’s apology.
“But words matter and we must be cognizant of the impact our words have,” Godwin said in the memo.
Goldberg’s suspension is just the latest controversy Godwin has had to navigate since taking the helm as president of ABC News. She became the first Black woman to lead a major American broadcast network.
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Before she even officially started, Godwin was faced with the abrupt departure of “Good Morning America” producer Michael Corn, increased tension between former “The View” co-host Meghan McCain and her colleagues, and the departure on “Nightline” producer Steve Baker, Variety reported.
Twitter users were divided on Goldberg’s punishement. Some said they thought it should have been harsher.
“Disproportionate IMO. Ignores context and motivation,” @dpuelle wrote.
“Anyone else would be fired, why does she have special privilege,” @wordsinusername tweeted. “Is it because she starred in Sister Act?”
However, many supported Goldberg and said they felt she should not have been suspended because she made her comments out of ignorance, not malice, and took responsibility for them.
“Fired for doing what? What do you think she did? She was arguing against the banning a book by school districts that discussed the Holocaust,” @rhunt0511 wrote. “In America, the race topic have been used against people like Whoopi and Asians.”
“She stated her view. She was told she was wrong. She apologized immediately and brought on someone to teach her and others about it. And you’re punishing her for it? Maybe you need to change the name of the show,” a Twitter user identified as Nealy Solymar tweeted. “I’m Jewish and I forgive her. You should too.”
“This Whoopi Goldberg suspension is dumb and will backfire on ABC, who, again, caved to bad faith attacks orchestrated by the right, who care so much about anti semitism that they gleefully promote anti semitic conspiracies and support Gosar, Green, Tucker and Trump. Absurd,” Daily Beast columnist Wajahat Ali wrote.
“This is shaming her after she corrected herself and after she apologized and had a deeper conversation about it. I’m not watching the View until she’s back,” Pilar Martis echoed. “Not sure whose pressuring to get her off air for this time but I won’t be watching and I’m sure others won’t either.”
Twitter user @micheecrocke3 wrote, “seriously… She’s done shows to raise money for the Jewish Defense League, She’s hosted rabbi’s to her home, celebrated Shabbat, dude do your homework. Btw I still don’t see any hosts on Fox News getting suspended for their Holocaust comments. you been over there to poo on them?”
“Whoopi probably already has a destination vacation planned. If they lose her they’ll lose views. Kim ain’t crazy,” @MeechiiMeech wrote.
Everyone should be held to the same standard, Complex Media founder Torraine Walker said.
“I want the black wackademics, actorvists and media people who make hateful ignorant statements about Black men to face the same level of accountability Whoopi Goldberg did,” Walker tweeted.