Whoopi Goldberg has once again claimed that the Holocaust was not about race, insisting the Nazis ‘were not killing racial’ and repeating the argument that saw her suspended in February from her $8 million-a-year role hosting talk show The View.
The Oscar-winning actress was suspended from The View in February for saying the Holocaust was not about race, but rather ‘white on white’ violence and ‘man’s inhumanity to man’ – and the interviewer was told in advance not to discuss the chat show.
Yet Goldberg readily repeated her controversial comments, when it was pointed out that the Nazis certainly believed the Holocaust was about race.
‘Yes, but that’s the killer, isn’t it?’ she told The Times of London.
‘The oppressor is telling you what you are. Why are you believing them? They’re Nazis. Why believe what they’re saying?’
She said the Holocaust ‘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.’
She said being Jewish was not a race like being black, because it was not identifiable.
Goldberg sparked outrage by claiming on The View in February that the Holocaust was ‘not about race’ because it’s ‘two white groups of people’. In a new interview, she repeated her claims
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
‘It doesn’t change the fact that you could not tell a Jew on a street,’ she said. ‘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 star was born Caryn Elaine Johnson, and says her stage name is a nod to her distant Jewish ancestry.
Goldberg, 67, was speaking to The Times of London to promote her new film Till, and returned to the fraught territory she had previously waded into – questioning the biology of transgender people, claiming she was not sexually harassed as an actress because she was intimidating and black, and saying she was confused why sexually abused actresses ‘just took it’.
Goldberg was also recently embroiled in a row about transgender people, and found herself accused of transphobia after she said that ‘men don’t have eggs’ during a discussion about abortion.
Goldberg, asked about the row, said: ‘But men don’t have eggs.’
When the interviewer said that trans men – born biologically as women – do have eggs, Goldberg replied: ‘They may have eggs, but they’re not getting pregnant. Are they? I think you have to do some fixing in order to get those eggs fertilized. But I do have questions because trans men, I was told, still have their prostates.’
Goldberg was asked about controversy last year when a white artist depicted Emmett Till – the subject of her new film – in a painting shown at the Whitney, in New York City.
Some critics said that a white person should not be using black suffering for art.
‘Well, they said the same thing about Steven Spielberg shooting The Color Purple, right?’ she said.
‘I don’t think you have to be [black] in order to recognize and empathize. But that’s me.’
She said there was a necessary debate about casting people, to ensure that there is equality of opportunity and representation.
‘As an actor I like to feel like I can do anything; I can play anybody,’ she said.
‘And I know now that there are things that I probably should not do, not be.’
She added: ‘You think, ‘Wait a minute. Yes, I could do it, but who’s around who should do it?
‘And sometimes it’s hard, because you don’t want to give it up.
‘But sometimes you must, because you have to get people in the habit of hiring Asian people to play Asian people.’
This spring, Goldberg tried to apologize for saying the ‘Holocaust isn’t about race’ during an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, but angered more people.
Whoopi Goldberg 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
‘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.’
Her appearance on Colbert, where she also plugged her return to the Star Trek franchise, came hours after she apologized for her comments, which sparked backlash worldwide, 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.’
She also said during the interview: ‘I feel, being black, when we talk about race it’s a very different thing to me.
‘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.’
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 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 met with criticism on both sides of the Atlantic, with many criticizing the actress for her misunderstanding.
Stop Antisemitism, a non-profit organization, 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.’
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.