ABC’s decision to remove Whoopi Goldberg from “The View” for two weeks following her statements about the Holocaust has led to criticism that the network’s response ruined a teaching opportunity for the nation on a delicate issue that is frequently misunderstood and seldom discussed on air.
Goldberg sparked a cancel-culture media frenzy Monday when she declared on the show that the Nazis’ killing of 6 million Jews during WWII was motivated by “man’s inhumanity to man” and that the fight was between “two white groups of people.” The Nazis were white nationalists who sought to annihilate what they saw as an inferior race.
Her suspension followed an apology on Twitter that night and the next day on the show, which included the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League at her invitation. The network’s decision sparked a heated debate about whether the politically liberal actor should be fired or coached.
On Twitter, Isaac de Castro, editor of Jewcy, an online community for young Jews, stated that Goldberg’s inflammatory remarks represented many Americans’ incapacity to recognize race and racism outside of their own context. In a tweet, he also stated that “placing an adult lady in time-out” serves little to promote the confrontation with Jewish identity.
“Now we’re debating whether Whoopi should be suspended or not, rather than debating the subject at hand… … having a bigger discourse about antisemitism and racism, as well as the complexities of Jewish history,” said de Castro, who is based in New York City and originally from Panama City.
“DON’T CANCEL Whoopi,” tweeted Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who has often accused the media of attempting to suppress the right.
Some fans vowed to boycott the show because of what she said, while others criticized the network for what they regarded as a biased response to words made by a Black woman that were not malicious.
“Whoopi made a misguided statement, but then people leaped down her throat in ways that they haven’t for non-Black celebrities,” said Malana Krongelb, a Black and Jewish librarian in Boston. “‘The View’ has a platform that it might utilize to educate people in a popular way.” However, it is almost utilized as clickbait.”
Others agreed that conversation was preferable to punishment.
“If you’re looking to influence someone’s perspective, I believe education is more beneficial than public humiliation and punishment.” “Especially when that individual demonstrates a genuine want to learn and apologize,” said Sharon Brous, a rabbi in Los Angeles, on Twitter.
“The View” is an American daytime talk program in which women debate current events. According to Tom Jones, senior media writer at Poynter Institute, they are encouraged to be something edgy or controversial and failing to have an opinion kind of defeats the objective of the show.
One of Goldberg’s former co-hosts, Meghan McCain, apologized last year for previously tolerating then-President Donald Trump’s discriminatory statements about Asians.
McCain stated in a Daily Mail essay published Tuesday that she is not pushing for Goldberg to be fired, mostly because she does not believe the program will ever terminate its star. It was unclear if McCain wrote the essay while aware of the suspension, but she termed her apologies proof of a double standard — and suggested that this be utilized as a “teachable” moment.
“Instead of half-assed apologies and sending in anti-Semitism specialists, perhaps commit a whole ‘Hot Topics’ program to examine why what was said was so terribly insulting and dangerous,” McCain said.
In an episode that aired Monday night, Goldberg revealed to talk show host Stephen Colbert that her sense of race is based on skin tone, but that she was mistaken.
She apologized again on “The View” Tuesday morning and invited Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, to speak about the Holocaust on that day’s broadcast. In a tweet, he expressed gratitude for her invitation and stated that “her apologies is very much welcome.”
However, ABC News President Kim Godwin confirmed her suspension later in the day on Tuesday. On Wednesday, former Republican communications director Tara Setmayer joined in as a guest co-host, and no one mentioned Jews or the Holocaust.
ABC announced in a statement that it was suspending Goldberg in order for her to “take time to think and learn about the consequences of her words.” The network did not reply to requests for comment on the public reaction to the suspension on Friday.
What many seem to forget is that Goldberg made her statements during a piece on a Tennessee school board’s decision to prohibit “Maus,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about Nazi death camps during WWII, according to author Frederick Joseph.
Conservative politicians around the country are attempting to restrict access to works like “Maus” and “The 1619 Project,” which concentrate on Black enslavement and Black Americans in US history. Some parents are protesting his book, “The Black Friend: On Becoming a Better White Person,” he added because they believe it is brainwashing.
According to Joseph, Goldberg was viewing race through the lens of a Black woman in America, and that lens lacked historical understanding of what the Holocaust was all about.
“But, to be honest, as a Black American, I wasn’t taught anything about the Holocaust in school,” Joseph remarked. “I do hope that Whoopi learns and evolves, but how can she if we don’t give her the chance?”
Children and teenagers from marginalized groups have long complained that they do not receive a thorough education on the histories of Jewish, Black, and other cultures. It would have been incredible if “The View” had spent the whole two-week ban to meaningful analysis of history’s harsher moments, they said.
Greenblatt could not comment on the ban, according to the Anti-Defamation League, and linked to an op-ed he authored that was published Thursday in USA Today. Her words, he claimed, were especially painful at a time when Holocaust denial is on the upswing worldwide, and politicians have wrongly likened mask regulations and COVID-19 vaccinations to Nazi crimes, further trivializing the Holocaust.
His words appeared to acknowledge her audience’s influence.
“She has a fantastic chance to use her position not just to educate herself, but also to share what she learns with her audience and the entire country,” he says. “Just keep doing what you’re doing,” she added.