Whoopi Goldberg has apologized for controversial comments that she made about the Holocaust during Monday’s episode of The View.
Whoopi, 66, was cohosting the talk show as the panel debated a US school board’s decision to ban the Pulitzer-winning graphic novel Maus, which is about a Holocaust survivor’s experiences, from its curriculum.
Whoopi shocked her costars as she said: “Let’s be truthful, the Holocaust isn’t about race. It’s not. It’s about man’s inhumanity to man, that’s what it’s about. These are two groups of white people.”
But Joy Behar argued that Jews are considered “a different race,” as Ana Navarro questioned Whoopi on what the Holocaust was about if not race, adding: “It is about a white supremacist.”
“The minute you turn it into race, it goes down this alley,” Whoopi went on. “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 or Jews or Italians — everybody eats each other.”
Ana and Joy expressed their disagreement, with Ana insisting: “It’s necessary for kids to learn about the Holocaust.”
Reinforcing her point, Whoopi agreed: “To learn about man’s inhumanity to man, however it exposes itself.”
While the stars continued to speak over each other in heated debate, the show cut to a commercial break.
Whoopi’s comments immediately sparked fierce backlash online, with viewers and activists branding her remarks “dangerous” and “damaging”
Actor Debra Messing was among those who spoke out, admitting that she had been “deeply offended” by Whoopi’s argument.
She tweeted: “You deeply hurt & offended me. By minimizing the horror of the Holocaust, the systematic annihilating of 6 MILLION Jews — which by the way IS a race — an attempted GENOCIDE to white on white crime? You ‘All Lives Matter,’ -ed us. Devastating & dangerous.”
Another commentator wrote: “The worst thing about Whoopi Goldberg's Holocaust take is that she perpetuates the idea that whiteness is some shared universal experience when in reality it's not and that's a dangerous thing to think regardless of what race we are talking about.”
“Whoopi Goldberg’s comments on the Holocaust is a prime example of how dangerous being oblivious and uneducated on a subject can cause two steps back in an important issue such as racism. Racism is racism regardless,” a third tweeted.
“Whoopi Goldberg needs to be fired. Her hate and vitriol is damaging. She is toxic,” one more wrote.
Meanwhile, StopAntisemitism.org said that Whoopi’s comments minimized Jewish people’s “trauma and suffering.”
They tweeted: “Newsflash @WhoopiGoldberg 6 million of us were gassed, starved and massacred because we were deemed an inferior race by the Nazis. How dare you minimise our trauma and suffering!”
Hours after the episode aired, Whoopi took to her own social media page to apologize for the “hurt” she’d caused.
“On today’s show, I said the Holocaust ‘is not about race, but about man’s inhumanity to man,’” she began. “I should have said it is about both.”
“As Jonathan Greenblatt from the Anti-Defamation League shared, 'The Holocaust was about the Nazi’s systemic annihilation of the Jewish people — who they deemed to be an inferior race,’” she went on.
Whoopi 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.”
She concluded the statement: “Written with my sincerest apologies, Whoopi Goldberg.”
Jonathan Greenblatt had previously spoken out against Whoopi, tweeting: “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.”
However, he acknowledged her apology by responding: “Thanks @WhoopiGoldberg for correcting your prior statement and acknowledging the #Holocaust for what it was.”
“As #antisemitism surges to historic levels, I hope we can work together to combat ignorance of that horrific crime and the hate that threatens all,” he added.
Whoopi, who was born Caryn Elaine Johnson, previously said that she has an affinity to Judaism and that her chosen stage name of “Goldberg” is part of her “heritage.”
Speaking during a charity event in London in Nov. 2016, Whoopi said: “I just know I am Jewish. I practice nothing. I don't go to temple, but I do remember the holidays. Religion is a lot of work, it's exhausting. So I keep it simple, I have a pretty good relationship with God. We talk.”
Discussing her name, the Sister Act star went on: “When people heard the name 'Whoopi Goldberg,' and then I turned up, I was not what they were expecting. People would ask me in a roundabout way, 'So are you?' And I would say 'What?' And they'd say, 'What does your name mean?' And I would say, 'Do you mean Whoopi?' And they'd say, 'No, the other name.’”
“And then they would say, 'Come on, are you Jewish?' And I always say, 'Would you ask me that if I was white? I bet not,’” she added. “The name is wonderful for starting conversations."
Although she hasn’t given the exact origins of the name “Goldberg,” Whoopi divulged at the time: “My mother [pictured below] did not name me Whoopi, but Goldberg is my name, it's part of my family, part of my heritage. Just like being Black.”