Whoopi Goldberg apologises for ‘dangerous’ Holocaust remarks: ‘As a Black person I think of race as being something that I can see’

Actor and TV host says she ‘stands corrected’ after backlash to her comments

Holocaust ‘isn’t about race’: Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg has apologised after claiming the Holocaust “is not about race” on Monday’s (31 January) episode of The View.

Appearing alongside her hosts Joy Behar, Sara Haines, and Ana Navarro, Goldberg was discussing a Tennessee school board’s controversial decision to ban Maus, a graphic novel about the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis.

After talking about the graphic novel, Goldberg said: “Let’s be truthful about it because the Holocaust isn’t about race. No. It’s not about race!”

She repeatedly tried to prove her point that the Holocaust was about “man’s inhumanity to man” despite her co-hosts interjecting to remind her that Jews in Nazi Germany was a different race”.

“But you’re missing the point! You’re missing the point,” Goldberg insisted, adding, “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. That’s the problem.”

Goldberg’s remarks sparked an instant backlash on social media, with one person tweeting: “Some Holocaust education would do Whoopi a world of good.”

Another user wrote: “Whoopi’s ignorance is scary.”

Appearing on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert that same day, Goldberg said it was “never [her intention]” to upset people with her remarks.

“I thought it was a salient discussion because as a Black person I think of race as being something that I can see. People were very angry and they said ‘no no we are a race – and I understand,” she told Colbert.

“People, you know, decided I was all these other things I’m actually not. I’m incredibly torn up by being told these things about myself. And I get it, folks are angry. I accept that and I did it to myself,” she continued. “This was my thought process and I’ll work hard not to think that way again.”

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Earlier that evening, Goldberg offered her “sincerest apologies” for hurting Jewish people “around the world” in a Twitter post.

The 66-year-old wrote: “On today’s show, I said the Holocaust is ‘not about race but about man’s inhumanity to man.’ I should have said it was about both.”

“As Jonathan Greenblatt from the Anti-Defamation League shared, ‘The Holocaust was about the Nazis’ systemic annihilation of the Jewish people – who they deemed to be an inferior race.’ I stand corrected.”

Greenblatt is the sixth national director and CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, an organisation whose mission is to combat antisemitism and secure justice for Jewish people. He previously served in the White House as Special Assistant to former US president Barack Obama, and as director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.

Greenblatt retweeted Goldberg’s apology, thanking her for “acknowledging the Holocaust for what it was.”

“The Holocaust was about the Nazis’ systemic annihilation of the Jewish people – who they deemed to be an inferior race,” he said earlier in response to Goldberg’s remarks.

“They dehumanised them and used their racist propaganda to justify slaughtering six million Jews. Holocaust distortion is dangerous.”

Goldberg issued a second apology at the start of Tuesday’s episode (1 February) of The View, telling the audience that she “misspoke”.

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