UPDATE: Whoopi Goldberg has apologized for her comments about Jews and race, after her remarks over the weekend reignited a controversy from earlier this year that got her suspended from “The View.”
“Recently while doing press in London, I was asked about my comments from earlier this year,” she said in a statement to Variety. “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. I’m still learning a lot and believe me, I heard everything everyone said to me. 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. In this time of rising antisemitism, I want to be very clear when I say that I always stood with the Jewish people and always will. My support for them has not wavered and never will.”
Goldberg once again courted controversy after she was suspended from “The View” in February after saying the Holocaust was “not about race.” In an interview with The Sunday Times, Goldberg said some Jewish people themselves are divided over whether they are a race or a religion. She also doubled down and said the Holocaust “wasn’t originally” about race.
“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,’” Goldberg said.
When The Times interviewer reminded Goldberg that the “Nazis saw Jews as a race,” Goldberg responded, “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? It wasn’t originally [about race]. Remember who they were killing first. They were not killing racial; they were killing physical. They were killing people they considered to be mentally defective. And then they made this decision.”
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt railed against Goldberg for her latest comments, writing on Twitter, “Whoopi Goldberg’s comments about the Holocaust and race are deeply offensive and incredibly ignorant. When she made similar comments earlier this year, we explained how the Nazi regime was inherently racist.”
“Whoopi’s comments show a complete lack of awareness of the multiethnic, multiracial makeup of the Jewish community,” Greenblatt continued. “She needs to apologize immediately and actually commit to educating herself on the true nature of #antisemitism.”
Goldberg’s original remarks emerged during a late January episode of “The View” in which the co-hosts discussed a Tennessee school board’s ban of “Maus,” a nonfiction graphic novel about cartoonist Art Spiegelman’s father’s experience surviving the Holocaust.
“Let’s be truthful about it because [the] Holocaust isn’t about race,” Goldberg said at the time. “It’s not about race. It’s about man’s inhumanity to man.”
The remarks drew immediate, sweeping criticism from Jewish organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League and the U.S. Holocaust Museum.