Whoopi Goldberg Clarifies Seeming Double-Down on Controversial Holocaust Stance: 'I'm Still Learning a Lot'
Whoopi Goldberg is revisiting — and reinforcing — her controversial comments on the Holocaust.
The longtime co-host of The View, 67, told The Sunday Times this weekend that she doesn't understand why her January remarks that the Holocaust was not "about race" caused such an uproar, even insisting that Jewish people are also split over whether they're considered a race or a religion.
"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 said.
When the Sunday Times reporter countered that Nazis saw Jewish people 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?"
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When asked about the Holocaust once more, Goldberg stood by her position that "it wasn't originally" about race.
"Remember who they were killing first," she said. "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."
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Later, the reporter asked whether race can be more than just skin color, leading Goldberg to say in response that "it's not in its official … when you look it up." From there, the journalist then pointed out how Nazis measured Jewish people's facial features to "prove" they were an actual race, which is something the star appeared to disparage.
"They did that to Black people too. But it doesn't change the fact that you could not tell a Jew on a street," Goldberg argued. "You could find me. You couldn't find them. 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."
The interview noted that they don't suspect Goldberg's views "stem not from antisemitism" but rather "blinkered American incuriosity."
Goldberg addressed the Sunday Times article in a statement to PEOPLE: "Recently while doing press in London, I was asked about my comments from earlier this year. I tried to convey to the reporter what I had said and why, and attempted to recount that time."
The statement continued, "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 acknowledged, "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."
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Though Goldberg apologized for her comments in February, and that apology was accepted by the Anti-Defamation League at the time, CEO Jonathan Greenblatt spoke out on Tuesday to denounce these latest remarks.
"Whoopi Goldberg's comments about the Holocaust and race are deeply offensive and incredibly disappointing, especially given that this is not the first time she had made remarks like this," he said in a statement to The Wrap. "In a moment when antisemitic incidents have surged across the US, she should realize that making such ignorant statements can have real consequences."
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Goldberg controversially declared that "the Holocaust isn't about race" during a January 2022 episode of The View. Though her co-host Joy Behar pointed out how Nazis considered Jewish people "a different race," Goldberg argued that the Holocaust was "about man's inhumanity to man."
As Goldberg stated that "these are two white groups of people," co-host Sara Haines said Nazis "didn't see them as White" and Behar recalled how Black people were targeted too.
"But you're missing the point! You're missing the point," Goldberg continued. "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. It's a problem. It doesn't matter if you are Black or white because Black, white, Jews, Italians — everybody eats each other."
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After her comments attracted backlash, Goldberg offered a public apology.
"I said something that I feel a responsibility for not leaving unexamined because my words upset so many people, which was never my intention," she said during another boradcast of The View. "And I understand why now, and for that I am deeply, deeply grateful because the information I got was really helpful and it helped me understand some different things."
Goldberg was later suspended for two weeks.