The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg has been suspended from the show for two weeks, effective immediately, according to a statement late Tuesday from ABC News President Kim Godwin.
“Effective immediately, I am suspending Whoopi Goldberg for two weeks for her wrong and hurtful comments. 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,” wrote Godwin.
— ABC News PR (@ABCNewsPR) February 2, 2022
Deadline has also obtained a longer memo Godwin sent to staff, in which she calls the View co-host’s comments “misinformed, upsetting and hurtful.” Godwin affirmed that “words matter and we must be cognizant of the impact our words have,” before appending the shorter statement that was tweeted out tonight. The full text of the ABC News president’s comments is at the bottom of this story.
Goldberg’s suspension comes after she claimed on Monday’s show that the Holocaust was “not about race.” Her assertion was quickly condemned by the ADL and a number of other important organizations. Goldberg later issued a written apology.
But in a segment on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert that aired Monday night but seemingly taped before she issued her apology, Goldberg sounded less contrite, basically repeating her argument and saying she didn’t want to “fake apologize” just because people were angry.
“It upset a lot of people, which was never ever, ever my intention,” she said. “I feel, being Black, when we talk about race, it’s a very different thing to me. So I said I thought the Holocaust wasn’t about race. And people got very angry and still are angry. I’m getting a lot of mail from folks and a lot of real anger. But 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…I thought it [the Holocaust] was more about man’s inhumanity to man…But people were very angry and said, ‘No, no, we are a race.’ I felt differently. I respect everything everyone is saying to me.”
“I don’t want to fake apologize,” she continued. “I am very upset that people misunderstood what I was saying. And because of it they are saying I am anti-Semitic and I am denying the Holocaust and all these other things which, you know, would never occur to me to do. I thought we were having a discussion about race, which everyone, I think, is having.”
“As the white guy,” as Colbert called himself, he observed that racial issues in America have tended to be centered on skin color.
“Right, that’s what it means to me,” she said. “When you talk about being a racist, you can’t call this racism. This was evil. This wasn’t based on skin. You couldn’t tell who was Jewish. You had to delve deeply and figure it out.”
Goldberg said toward the end of the segment, “Folks are angry. I accept that. I did it to myself.”
And a bit later, “Don’t write me anymore. I know how you feel. I already know. I get it. And I’m going to take your word for it and never bring it up again.”
Goldberg did bring it up again, issuing a fuller written apology late Monday and expressing her contrition again on The View today.
Saying that she “misspoke” Monday, Goldberg said on-air today that the Holocaust “is indeed about race, because Hitler and the Nazis considered the Jews to be an inferior race. Now, words matter — and mine are no exception. I regret my comments, and I stand corrected. I also stand with the Jewish people.”
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, was on the talk show Tuesday morning. “There is no question that the Holocaust was about race,” he told Goldberg and her co-hosts. “That is how the Nazis saw it as they sought the systematic annihilation of the Jewish people across continents, across countries, with deliberate and ruthless cruelty.”
ADL CEO @JGreenblattADL joined @TheView today to discuss why Holocaust education, which has a proven record of reducing intolerance, is so critical as #antisemitism remains a real and present danger for the Jewish community. 📺 Watch: pic.twitter.com/cJtTCrDLXE
— ADL (@ADL) February 1, 2022
On Monday, during a discussion of a Tennessee school district banning Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning and somewhat graphic graphic Holocaust-set novel Maus, Goldberg had said, “If you’re going to do this, then let’s be truthful about it. Because the Holocaust isn’t about race. No, it’s not about race.”
Co-host Joy Behar quickly asked Goldberg: “Then what was it about?”
“Man’s inhumanity to man,” Goldberg shot back. “These are two white groups of people.”
“No @WhoopiGoldberg, the #Holocaust was about the Nazi’s systematic annihilation of the Jewish people – who they deemed to be an inferior race,” Greenblatt wrote Monday on Twitter. “They dehumanized them and used this racist propaganda to justify slaughtering 6 million Jews. Holocaust distortion is dangerous.”
Here is the full text of the memo sent to staff by ABC News President Kim Godwin:
Good evening ABC News—
I want to follow up with you all regarding Whoopi Goldberg’s comments on “The View” yesterday that were misinformed, upsetting and hurtful. I have made the decision to suspend Whoopi from “The View” for two weeks effective immediately.
These decisions are never easy, but necessary.
Just last week I noted that the culture at ABC News is one that is driven, kind, inclusive, respectful, and transparent.
Whoopi’s comments do not align with those values.
It was important that Whoopi had a chance to address her comments on the show today where she made them and have an educational conversation with Jonathan Greenblatt from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
I appreciate their conversation and his acknowledgement of Whoopi’s efforts. As he tweeted, “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.”
Whoopi has shown through her actions over many years that she understands the horrors of the Holocaust and she started today’s show with that recognition.
But words matter and we must be cognizant of the impact our words have.
I’ll be issuing the below statement shortly.
“Effective immediately, I am suspending Whoopi Goldberg for two weeks for her wrong and hurtful comments. 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.”
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