Whoopi Goldberg has apologized after she sparked a firestorm on “The View” and online Monday by claiming the Holocaust was not about race.
“If you’re going to do this, then let’s be truthful about it,” she said during a discussion about a Tennessee school board’s controversial decision earlier this month to remove “Maus,” Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust, from an eighth-grade curriculum.
“Because the Holocaust isn’t about race. No, it’s not about race,” Goldberg claimed.
“Then what was it about?” her co-host Joy Behar asked.
“It’s not about race. It’s about man’s inhumanity to man,” Goldberg answered. “That’s what it’s about.”
Ana Navarro, another co-host on the talk show, interrupted, “Well, it’s about white supremacy. That’s what it’s about. It’s about going after Jews and gypsies,” who often prefer the term Roma.
“But these are two white groups of people,” Goldberg argued. “But you’re 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. It’s a problem.”
Goldberg’s comments were circulated on social media, prompting backlash from prominent Jewish groups.
“The Holocaust was about the Nazi’s systematic annihilation of the Jewish people ― who they deemed to be an inferior race,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt wrote in a tweet directed to Goldberg.
Auschwitz Memorial, the Twitter account for the memorial and museum at the former Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, directed Goldberg to an online course about Holocaust history. It also shared a chart, provided by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, that illustrates how Nazi Germany divided people into racial groups based on their Jewish ancestry.
Jewish organizations have been forced to repeatedly educate and call out public figures in recent months, amid a spate of book bans in U.S. public schools as well as efforts by conservatives to equate pandemic restrictions and vaccine mandates to the widespread, systematic persecution and murder of Jews in Europe during World War II.
In a Twitter statement Monday evening, Goldberg said she offered her “sincerest apologies.”
“I stand corrected,” she wrote, citing Greenblatt’s tweet. “The Jewish people around the world have always had my support and that will never [waver]. I’m sorry for the hurt I have caused.”