ABC has suspended Whoopi Goldberg from The View for two weeks after she said on Monday’s broadcast that 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 Kimberly Godwin wrote in a staff memo Tuesday. “While Whoopi has apologized, I’ve asked her to take time to reflect and learn about the impact of her comments.”
Godwin added, “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.”
During a discussion of a Tennessee school board banning Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel about the Nazi death camps, Maus, Goldberg asserted that the systematic extermination of six million Jews in under a decade was simply an example of “man’s inhumanity to man” which took place “between two groups of white people.”
When Goldberg’s co-hosts argued that “The Final Solution” of the Nazi agenda was about “white supremacy” and that the Nazis didn’t see Jews as white, the 66-year-old comedian responded that they were “missing the point.”
It might also have been pointed out that “The Final Solution” was literally the Nazi’s answer to “The Jewish Question,” which Hitler first addressed in 1919, writing that the Jews were “race-tuberculosis of the peoples,” and that the German government’s “ultimate goal must definitely be the removal of the Jews altogether.”
In her memo, Godwin added that, “It was important that Whoopi had a chance to address her comments” on Tuesday’s show, in which she had “an educational conversation with Jonathan Greenblatt from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).”
Before that appearance, Greenblatt addressed Goldberg’s theory on Twitter Monday.
No @WhoopiGoldberg, the #Holocaust was about the Nazi’s systematic annihilation of the Jewish people – who they deemed to be an inferior race. They dehumanized them and used this racist propaganda to justify slaughtering 6 million Jews. Holocaust distortion is dangerous. #ENOUGH https://t.co/koS1kuspqV
— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) January 31, 2022
Goldberg apologized via tweet Monday, writing, “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 then quoted Greenblatt’s tweet, adding, “I stand corrected.”
She also offered an explanation on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Monday.
“I thought it was a salient discussion because, as a Black person, I think of race as being something that I can see,” Goldberg said. “So I see you and I know what race you are, and the discussion was about how I felt about that. People were very angry, and they said, ‘No, no, we are a race,’ and I understand. I understand. I felt differently.”
Not being able to “see” Jews as a race was perhaps not the winning defense Goldberg thought it was.
In the 1940 Nazi propaganda film The Eternal Jew, the narrator famously laments that it can be difficult to pick Jews out because “they put on the mask of civilized Europeans,” but noted that they are easier to spot in their “original state.”
Goldberg’s colleagues, meanwhile, are split with regards to her punishment. One ABC executive tells The Daily Beast, “People are really upset and don’t understand why it took two days,” but the outlet also says her co-hosts are “furious” with the network for suspending her.
Other “insiders” predicted to “Page Six” on Tuesday that the situation “isn’t just going to blow over” and that the Oscar-winner was “in deep shit.”
“Why does Whoopi seemingly get a pass when others don’t?” the “Page Six” source wondered. “Perhaps this time she won’t. Many at the network—including her fellow hosts—believe Whoopi is too controversial now for the show.”
Rabbi Noah Farkas, President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, says education is the best recourse in this situation, not punishment.
Farkas tells Los Angeles, “I would not speculate as to why she said what she said other than that so many people in this world do not know about the global Jewish community, nor about the Holocaust. There are more people living between San Diego and Santa Barbara than there are Jews in the world (in no small part due to the Holocaust). We all need to keep learning about each other.”
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