'I think of race as something I see': Whoopi explains Holocaust remark

'I think of race as something I see': Whoopi explains Holocaust remark

‘As a black person I think of race as being something that I can see’: Whoopi Goldberg tries to justify saying that the Holocaust was not about race – after issuing apology claiming she ‘stands corrected’

  • Whoopi Goldberg, 66, on Monday sparked uproar when she claimed on The View that the Holocaust was ‘not about race’ because it was white people killing white
  • Goldberg later issued an apology, saying that she ‘stands corrected’ and she was ‘sorry for the hurt I have caused’
  • She then went on Stephen Colbert’s show to discuss her new Lifetime film, and attempted to further explain her remarks
  • Goldberg said that as a black person, she felt race was something you can see – despite previously saying that she accepted that being Jewish was a race
  • Goldberg concluded: ‘Don’t write me any more – I get it. I’m going to take your word for it. And never bring it up again’ 

Embattled talk show host Whoopi Goldberg didn’t seem to stick to her apology for saying the ‘Holocaust isn’t about race’ for very long during an appearance Monday night on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. 

Goldberg, 66, told the late-night host she ‘got’ why her comments on The View about the Holocaust had angered and upset people – then attempted to explain her logic and justify her remarks.

‘I feel, being black, when we talk about race it’s a very different thing to me,’ she began. 

‘So I said I thought the Holocaust wasn’t about race.

‘And it made people very angry. I’m getting a lot of mail from folks and a lot of 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.’ 

Her seemingly scheduled appearance on Colbert, where she also plugged her return to the Star Trek franchise, came hours after she apologized for her comments earlier that day.

‘The Holocaust was about the Nazi’s systematic annihilation of the Jewish people — who they deemed to be an inferior race. I stand corrected,’ she tweeted

‘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.’

But on Colbert, Goldberg again returned to her contention about the Holocaust that landed her in hot water. 

‘When you talk about being a racist, you can’t call this racism,’ she said.

‘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.

‘My point is: they had to do the work.

‘If the Klan is coming down the street and I’m standing with a Jewish friend: I’m going to run.

‘But if my friend decides not to run, they’ll get passed by most times.

‘Because you can’t tell who is Jewish. You don’t know.’

Whoopi Goldberg on Monday night appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and attempted to explain her controversial remarks about the Holocaust

Goldberg admitted to Colbert that she ‘did a lot of harm to myself’ with her Holocaust remarks

The Manhattan-born Academy Award winning actress and comedian, who has hosted The View since 2007, told Colbert that she received plenty of criticism over her remarks. 

‘It upset a lot of people, which was never ever ever my intention,’ Goldberg said.  

‘People were very angry, and said no, we are a race.

‘And I understand.

‘I felt differently. I respect everything everyone is saying to me.

‘I don’t want to fake apologize.

‘I am very upset that people misunderstood what I was saying.

‘And because of it they are saying I am anti-Semitic, and denying the Holocaust, and all these other things that would never occur to me to do. I thought we were having a discussion about race, which everyone is having.’

Goldberg, who is well known for her provocative and controversial comments, admitted to Colbert she ‘did a lot of harm to myself’ with her Holocaust remarks.

‘People decided I was a certain way. And I’m not,’ she insisted.

‘And I’m torn up people see me that way.

‘I did it to myself.

‘This is my thought process and I will work hard not to think that way again.’

Goldberg is seen leaving The Late Show in Manhattan after taping her interview

The 66-year-old was seen striding through the snow in Manhattan as she appeared on the chat show

Goldberg sparked outrage by claiming on The View that the Holocaust was ‘not about race’ because it’s ‘two white groups of people’.

Goldberg began the firestorm during a panel discussion with her View co-hosts over a Tennessee school board banning Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel Maus. 

The book by Art Spiegelman about Nazi atrocities faced by his parents has been an ‘anchor text’ in the curriculum and is used by schools all around the country. 

‘Let’s be truthful about it,’ she said. 

‘The Holocaust isn’t about race. It’s not about race. It’s not about race. It’s not about race. It’s about man’s inhumanity to man. That’s what it’s about.

Co-hosts Ana Navarro, Joy Behar and Sarah Haines all argued with her, but Goldberg was unrepentant.

‘These are two white groups of people. You are missing the point. 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,’ Goldberg said.

Goldberg’s remarks were immediately condemned by Stop Antisemitism, a non-profit organization, which 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 minimize our trauma and suffering!’ 

The Auschwitz Memorial in Poland tweeted a link to a history of the Holocaust.  

‘@WhoopiGoldberg, Holocaust – the destruction of European Jews. 

‘A seven-chapter online course about the history of the Holocaust. Links to all chapters below in the tweet.’

Her co-host, Navarro, pointed out to her how the Nazis persecuted Jews and ‘Gypsies’, targeting them as white supremacists. 

Haines tried to point out that Nazis didn’t consider Jews ‘white’ but it did not resonate with Goldberg. 

There was immediate backlash on Twitter. 

‘WTF? This is insane. The extermination of 6 million Jews wasn’t about race??? Will any rock stars or renegade royals now boycott Whoopi Goldberg and/or ABC for this dangerous misinformation?’ tweeted Piers Morgan.  

Meghan McCain, a former View co-host who left the show last year after feeling marginalized for her Conservative views, tweeted: ‘Antisemitism is a cancer and a poison that is increasingly excused in our culture and television – and permeates spaces that should shock us all.’ 

Michael Rappaport filmed a video of himself railing against Goldberg.  

‘Whoopi Goldberg, love you big fan – you went on your show and said the Holocaust wasn’t about race.

‘Yes it f*****g was! It was all and only about race! It was about ‘kill the Jews. They’re not white, they’re Jewish.

‘That’s like saying slavery wasn’t about race. You need to apologize. You need to explain yourself. Not good, not cool.’ 

Survivor children in the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau after the liberation, 1945. Godlberg said it wasn’t an act of racism because it involved two white groups 

Goldberg’s co-host Ana Navarro tried to argue with her that the Holocaust was about race, but Whoopi spoke over her 

Sarah Haines tried to point out that the Nazis considered themselves the superior race over Jews, but Goldberg did not take her point on-board 

Goldberg, who began her career as a standup comedian and in avant-garde theater troupes, has had a history of supporting wife-beaters, race-baiters and even a serial rapist.

Yet she remains entrenched as one of the co-hosts of the popular daytime show because her unfiltered outbursts are often must-watch TV. 

The Academy Award winner and one of only 16 people to have won an ‘EGOT’ – an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony – has remained resolutely controversial throughout her checkered career.

In 1993, she was roasted by her then-boyfriend Ted Danson at the Friar’s Club.

Goldberg and Danson collaborated on the jokes, and Danson appeared on stage in blackface with his lips painted white, proceeding to make graphic jokes about Goldberg’s anatomy and repeatedly used the n-word.

Attendees were horrified and then-New York City Mayor David Dinkins – the first black mayor of the city – said he was ’embarrassed for Whoopi and the audience and felt a tremendous sense of relief when it was over.’

Talk show host Montel Williams stormed off seven minutes into Danson’s monologue and left with his visibly upset wife.

‘When Ted made the jokes about the racially mixed kids, and everyone knows my wife is white and just gave birth to our child, I could see my wife start to cry,’ Williams told The New York Daily News. 

‘If that’s what Whoopi and Ted find funny in their bedroom, it’s not funny to the outside world.’

Williams said he planned to send roses and a note of apology to all the black women sitting on the dais with him for what he said was like ‘a meeting of the Klan.’

Whoopi Goldberg is pictured with her then boyfriend Ted Danson and Robert De Niro at the Friar’s Club in New York City

Goldberg was unrepentant, declaring before the shocked crowd: ‘I don’t care if you don’t like it. I do!’ 

Later, she said she resented the criticism from people who didn’t even know her.

‘If they knew me, they would know that Whoopi has never been about political correctness,’ she said.

Perhaps the thrice-married actress’s most damaging moment came when she was invited to speak at the Democratic National Convention, in 2004, and made a crude joke about then-Republican President George W. Bush.

‘I love Bush, but somebody’s giving Bush a bad name,’ Goldberg told the audience. 

‘I want to put Bush back where it belongs, and I don’t mean the White House. So you’ve got to get out there and vote.’

Goldberg angered many at the 1994 Democratic National Convention, stating: ‘I want to put Bush back where it belongs, and I don’t mean the White House’

Goldberg was condemned for her remarks, and lost a lucrative contract with Slim Fast.

She said at the time she was taken aback by the outrage. 

‘I’ve done material on every president in the past 20 years, from Reagan to Carter, from Clinton to Bush. It seems now that people from the other side are using this to further their own agenda,’ she said.

The Manhattan-born performer found herself cast into the wilderness after her comments, and has since said she didn’t work for five years.

‘For a good three years, I couldn’t even get arrested,’ she told The New York Times in 2019. 

‘Eventually I was lucky enough to get a radio show, and then Barbara Walters asked if I would consider doing ‘The View.”

Goldberg officially joined the show in August 2007, taking the slot vacated by Rosie O’Donnell.

Goldberg also sparked controversy by defending Bill Cosby for a long while after the accusations of rape and sexual assault were made

She also sprung to the defense of Mel Gibson, after he was caught on tape telling his girlfriend that she was dressed provocatively and would be ‘raped by n******’

The controversies kept coming – which, for the producers, frequently made the show must-watch TV.

But it also made many viewers angry.

In July 2010, Goldberg defended Mel Gibson after a furious conversation between him and ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva was published. 

Gibson tells his Russian girlfriend, mother of his daughter Lucia: ‘You look like a f****** pig in heat, and if you get raped by a pack of n******, it will be your fault.’  

Goldberg defended him. 

‘I know Mel, and I know he’s not a racist,’ she said. 

‘I have had a long friendship with Mel. You can say he’s being a bonehead, but I can’t sit and say that he’s a racist having spent time with him in my house with my kids.’

Goldberg was quick to add, however, that she does not condone his actions.

‘I don’t like what he’s done,’ she said. ‘Make no mistake.’

When co-host Joy Behar asked Goldberg if she thought Gibson was anti-semitic, she replied, ‘I think he’s an a******,’ quickly covering her mouth before the full word escaped her lips.

In 2014, she twice sprung to the defense of male celebrities involved in violent confrontations with women.

First she said that Jay-Z, who was attacked by Beyonce’s sister Solange Knowles in an elevator at The Standard Hotel, would have been justified in hitting her back. 

Goldberg told The View in May 2014 that a man has ‘every right’ to hit a woman in some circumstances. Jaz-Z refrained from any attack.

‘I think Solange was quite ready for him to do whatever he was going to do,’ Goldberg said. 

‘This is the thing: If anybody hits you, you have the right – I know that many people are raised in a different way – but if a woman hits you, to me, you have the right to hit her back,’ she said.

Discussing the infamous time Solange Knowles attacked her brother-in-law Jay-Z in an elevator, Goldberg said the rapper would have been justified in hitting her back

In August 2014, Goldberg defended NFL player Ray Rice for hitting his partner

Barbara Walters then inquired if Goldberg believed that it was acceptable for a man to hit a woman, to which Goldberg replied that ‘if I slap a man, he has every right to slap me back’.

She then defended Ray Rice – an NFL star who battered his wife and never played another down – noting that she admitted she hit him first.

‘If you make the choice, as a woman who is 4-foot-3, and you decide to hit a guy who is 6-foot-tall, and you’re the last thing he wants to deal with that day and he hits you back, you cannot be surprised,’ Goldberg said.

‘I know I’m going to catch a lot of hell, and I don’t care. 

‘But you have to teach women, do not live with this idea that men have this chivalry thing still with them, don’t assume that that is still in place.’

Goldberg once again sprang to the defense of a Hollywood friend when she stood by accused serial rapist Bill Cosby, long after most people had abandoned him.

The floodgates of allegations opened in November 2014, but Goldberg defended him resolutely until July 2015.

‘He has not been proven a rapist,’ she insisted in early July 2015. 

‘It’s my opinion, and the American courts agree with me because still he has not been taken to jail or tried on anything. So back off me!’ 

Several weeks later, she finally changed her tune.

‘I gotta say, all of the information that’s out there kinda points to ‘guilt’,’ she concluded.

Goldberg also engaged in fiery feuds with her co-stars and guests.

In July 2018, Goldberg and Judge Jeanine Pirro had an astonishing screaming match live on air, after Pirro appeared to suggest Goldberg suffered from ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome.’ 

Goldberg angrily replied: ‘Listen, I don’t have ‘Trump Derangement’ — let me tell you what I have. 

‘I’m tired of people starting a conversation with ‘Mexicans are liars and rapists.’

‘Listen, I’m 62 years old. There have been a lot of people in office that I didn’t agree with, but I have never, ever seen anything like this. 

‘I’ve never seen anybody whip up such hate. I’ve never seen anybody be so dismissive. And clearly you don’t watch the show, so you don’t know that I don’t suffer from that. 

‘What I suffer from is the inability to figure out how to fix this.’

Goldberg is seen with Judge Jeanine as a guest, in a segment that descended into a furious row

Goldberg also famously clashed with Meghan McCain, DailyMail.com columnist who was a co-host from 2017-2021.

When McCain left the show, she accused Goldberg of creating a ‘toxic’ work environment.

Goldberg shrugged off her remarks. 

‘Alright,’ she said. ‘You know, I’m trying to get my leg and my hip right,’ pointing to her cane.

‘I don’t have time to think about anything but myself.’ 

Pulitzer Prize-winning novel ‘Maus’ about Holocaust survivors is removed from eighth-grade English curriculum by Tennessee school board over ‘rough language’ and drawing of nude woman 

A Tennessee school board has voted unanimously to remove a Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about Holocaust survivors from its eighth-grade curriculum, citing a drawing of a nude woman, eight swear words and its ‘not wise or healthy’ content.

The McMinn County Board of Education voted 10-0 to remove ‘Maus’ by Art Spiegelman from the curriculum on January 10, despite educators arguing that the graphic novel is an ‘anchor text’ in eighth-grade English language arts instruction and the centerpiece of a months-long study of the Holocaust. 

Published in 1991, Maus is inspired by the story of Spiegelman’s parents, Vladek and Anja, who survived the Holocaust after being shipped to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. The graphic novel depicts Nazis as cats and Jewish people as mice.

Two editions of Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize winning graphic novel Maus have topped Amazon’s bestseller’s lists

Pages from the graphic novel Maus by American cartoonist Art Spiegelman are pictured

Author and artist Art Spiegelman, shown in his New York studio in 2004, turned the pain of the Holocaust into a Pulitzer Prize winning comic book novel

The board heard from instructional supervisors and other school officials who defended the use of the book in class but were unanimously overruled.

‘I went to school here 13 years. I learned math, English, reading and history. I never had a book with a naked picture in it, never had one with foul language. … So, this idea that we have to have this kind of material in the class in order to teach history, I don’t buy it,’ said board member Mike Cochran. 

Spiegelman, 73, called the ban ‘Orwellian’ in an interview with CNBC, saying that he learned about it on Wednesday, a day before Holocaust Remembrance Day.   

Experts say the book has been taught at schools for nearly two decades. 

Since announcing the removal of the book from the curriculum, Maus has shot up to number 1 on the Amazon bestseller list. 

The book is not available for delivery until mid-February. The Complete Maus, which includes a second volume, was at No. 3 and is also completely out of stock.

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