Whoopi Goldberg has spoken out after the Anti-Defamation League criticized her for remarks in which she appeared to doubt whether the Holocaust, which resulted in the murder of 6 million Jews and others, was racially motivated.
Goldberg stated in a statement received by USA TODAY on Tuesday that her views were taken out of context and were in reaction to comments she made earlier this year regarding the Holocaust. Goldberg was chastised on a January episode of “The View” for suggesting the Holocaust was not “about race.”
“Recently while doing press in London, I was asked about my comments from earlier this year,” Goldberg said in her Tuesday statement. “I tried to convey to the reporter what I had said and why and attempted to recount that time. It was never my intention to appear as if I was doubling down on hurtful comments, especially after talking with and hearing people like rabbis and old and new friends weighing in.”
Goldberg also stated that her support for Jews “has not wavered and will never waver.” “I’m still learning a lot and believe me, I heard everything everyone said to me,” she said. “I believe that the Holocaust was about race, and I am still as sorry now as I was then that I upset, hurt, and angered people. My sincere apologies again, especially to everyone who thought this was a fresh rehash of the subject. I promise it was not.”
Goldberg’s recent statements to The Sunday Times of London were deemed “deeply offensive” by the Anti-Defamation League. In an interview with the British newspaper, shared during Hanukkah, Goldberg suggested Jews are divided on whether they are a race, religion, or both. “My best friend said, ‘Not for nothing is there no box on the census for the Jewish race. So that leads me to believe that we’re probably not a race,’” she recalled.
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt told USA TODAY in a statement Tuesday that Goldberg’s comments “are deeply offensive and incredibly disappointing, especially given that this is not the first time she had made remarks like this. In a moment when antisemitic incidents have surged across the US, she should realize that making such ignorant statements can have real consequences.”
He added: “Whoopi needs to apologize to the Jewish community immediately and actually commit to educating herself on the true nature of antisemitism and how it was the driving force behind the systemic slaughter of millions. She shouldn’t do it for the ratings – she should do it simply because it’s the right thing to do. Failure to address the issue would raise serious questions about her sincerity and solidarity with her Jewish viewers and all those who experience hate.”
When The New York Times journalist Janice Turner noted Nazi-enforced racial laws directed at Jews, “The View” cohost claimed that the Holocaust “wasn’t originally” about “racial” or “physical” qualities.
“They were killing people they considered to be mentally defective. And then they made this decision,” she said. Turner continued to push back, telling Goldberg, “Nazis saw Jews as a race.” “Yes, but that’s the killer, isn’t it? The oppressor is telling you what you are. Why are you believing them? They’re Nazis. Why believe what they’re saying?” the “Till” actress responded.
Goldberg added, “It doesn’t change the fact that you could not tell a Jew on a street. You could find me. You couldn’t find them.” The actress was previously suspended from “The View” in January for similar remarks. Addressing those comments, she said, “That was the point I was making. But you would have thought that I’d taken a big old stinky dump on the table, butt naked.”