Whoopi Goldberg has apologised for her controversial comments about the Holocaust not being about race, for the second time.
Goldberg was suspended by ABC earlier this year after suggesting the Holocaust “was not about race” on the American talk show The View.
In a new interview published on 24 December, Goldberg appeared to repeat her past controversial view that the Holocaust “wasn’t originally” about race. Her remarks immediately received backlash from Jewish leaders who denounced the Ghost actor’s comments.
“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,’ ” Goldberg said.
“Nazis saw Jews as a race,” The Sunday Times reporter told Goldberg in the interview, to which she 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?”
In a new statement issued to Rolling Stone, Goldberg said that she was simply trying to “recount” what she had said in February on The View.
“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 said in the statement.
“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.”
Goldberg added: “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.”
After the new interview was published, the star’s comments were condemned by community leaders again.
In a statement on Twitter, holocaust survivor Lucy Lipiner criticised Goldberg, whom she referred to as a “comedy has-been”.
Lipiner said: “We told her that her comments harm us and she simply doesn’t care. I survived the Nazis and the Holocaust, so I’ll be damned if I let a comedy has-been peddling a fake Jewish name get the better of me.”
Whoopi Goldberg continues to use the Holocaust as her punching bag.
We told her that her comments harm us and she simply doesn’t care. I survived the Nazis and the Holocaust, so I’ll be damned if I let a comedy has-been, peddling a fake Jewish name get the better of me. pic.twitter.com/wgAHGsBPPU
— Lucy Lipiner (@LucyLipiner) December 25, 2022
In another tweet, the Auschwitz Memorial shared a screengrab of a letter from Adolf Hitler in 1919, where he specifically wrote, “Jews are definitely a race” and described Jewish people as an “alien race”.
“Stop claiming the Holocaust wasn’t about race,” commented David Harris, the former CEO of the American Jewish Council, sharing Auschwitz Memorial’s tweet. “It was all about race. Please get a grip and move on.”
Goldberg was suspended by ABC earlier following the “wrong” and “hurtful” comments.
Appearing on The View in January, Goldberg said: “Let’s be truthful about it because the Holocaust isn’t about race. No. It’s not about race!”
“But you’re missing the point! You’re missing the point,” she said. “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.”
She had doubled down on her comments in an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert that same day.
“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.