Whoopi Goldberg has been suspended from ABC’s “The View” for two weeks after she came under fire for saying the Holocaust was “not about race.”
“Effective immediately, I am suspending Whoopi Goldberg for two weeks for her wrong and hurtful comments,” ABC News President Kim Goodwin said Tuesday 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.”
Goldberg made the comments during Monday’s episode of the talk show as she and the other hosts were discussing how the Holocaust-centered graphic novel “Maus” was banned by a Tennessee school board, becoming just the latest on a lengthy list of banned books in the U.S.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning book is about the author and his father, Holocaust survivor Vladek Spiegelman, and the genocide’s impact on their relationship. The Tennessee school board banned the book, Goldberg said, because there were complaints about the novel containing nudity and bad language.
“Personally, I’m shocked because given the story of ‘Maus,’ I’m surprised that that’s what made you uncomfortable — the fact that there was some nudity. It’s about the Holocaust — the killing of 6 million people.”
As the hosts continued to discuss the banning of certain books, critical race theory and other hot-button education issues, Goldberg circled back to the Holocaust.
“If you’re going to do this, then let’s be truthful about it, because the Holocaust isn’t about race,” she said.
The other hosts paused before appearing to start to counter her argument when Goldberg continued.
“It’s not about race. It’s about man’s inhumanity to man. That’s what it’s about,” she said.
When co-host Ana Navarro said the genocide was “about white supremacy … and going after Jews and gypsies and Roma,” Goldberg responded that it was “two white groups of people.”
“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’s a problem. It doesn’t matter if you’re Black or white because Black, white, Jews — everybody.”
As explained by nonprofit organization Anne Frank House, Adolf Hitler had long been antisemitic prior to his rise to power in Nazi Germany. He quickly ascended to power after World War I as he blamed Jewish people for the issues Germany, and the world, were facing at the time. He started to categorize people based on their religion, race and ethnicity, culminating in policies of official discrimination, deportations and mass exterminations — what Nazi leaders called the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question.”
The exact number of people killed during the Holocaust is not known, but the best estimates are that 6 million Jews and millions of others were killed.
Goldberg apologized for her comments later on Monday.
“On today’s show, I said the Holocaust ‘is not about race, but about man’s inhumanity to man.’ I should have said it is about both,” Goldberg tweeted. “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 to be an inferior race.’ I stand corrected.”
“The Jewish people around the world have always had my support and that will never waiver,” Goldberg continued. “I’m sorry for the hurt I have caused.”
Goldberg’s initial comments received significant backlash.
“My Jewish family was put in concentration camps,” tweeted Hen Mazzig, a fellow at The Tel Aviv Institute, along with what appear to be photos of his family members. “How could you be so dismissive of the murder of 6 million Jews solely because they were Jewish?”
Actor Michael Rapaport posted a video condemning Goldberg’s comments, saying the genocide “f***ing was” about race.
“It was only about race. it was about kill the Jews, exterminate the Jews. ‘They’re not white, they’re Jewish.’ That’s like saying slavery wasn’t about race,” he said. “…Not good, not cool. … Leave the f***ing Jews alone.”
The Auschwitz Museum, which is run from the largest Nazi concentration camp and extermination center, tweeted at Goldberg a photo of a Nazi-era chart that shows how Nazi officials racially profiled people. According to the chart, a description says, “the only racially pure people are those who have four German grandparents,” as depicted in the four blank circles in the left-hand column of the chart.
The museum recommended their seven-chapter online course about the history of the Holocaust.
One Holocaust survivor, 88-year-old Lucy Lipiner, even offered to go onto the show and discuss the Holocaust with the hosts.
“I think we can have meaningful conversation together and heal wounds,” she said.