Whoopi Goldberg faces a fresh round of backlash after her latest historically inaccurate statement about the Holocaust, which she claimed “wasn’t originally” about race in an interview with the U.K. newspaper The Sunday Times.
The controversy marks the second time this year that Goldberg, 67, has come under fire for what Jewish leaders and Holocaust experts say are inaccurate and offensive comments about the Nazi-sponsored mass murder of 6 million European Jews from 1933 to 1945.
Goldberg made the latest remarks in an interview published Saturday after the reporter said, “Nazis saw Jews as a race,” referring to Goldberg’s comments in January, when she claimed the Holocaust was “not about race.”
“Yes, but that’s the killer, isn’t it?” Goldberg told The Sunday Times reporter. “The oppressor is telling you what you are. Why are you believing them? They’re Nazis. Why believe what they’re saying?
“It wasn’t originally” about race, Goldberg continued. “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.”
When the reporter told Goldberg that “the Nazis measured the heads and noses of Jews to ‘prove’ they were a distinct race,” Goldberg replied: “They did that to Black people too. But it doesn’t change the fact that you could not tell a Jew on a street. 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.”
Goldberg apologized in a statement Tuesday evening following the criticism of the interview. She said she was trying to convey why she made the original comment and recount what she was thinking at the time.
“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. “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.”
She ended the statement by saying her support for the Jewish community “has not wavered and never will.”
Backlash to and correction of the comments — which come amid rising antisemitism in the U.S. — were swift.
The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum on Monday tweeted a passage from a letter Adolf Hitler wrote in 1919 — 14 years before he was appointed chancellor of Germany and opened the first concentration camp — stating that “Jews are definitely a race” and calling Jewish people an “alien race, unable and unwilling to sacrifice its racial distinctiveness.”
“This text is one of the first major statements made by Hitler with regard to the Jewish question,” read the Auschwitz Memorial’s tweet accompanying the excerpt.
While the Auschwitz Memorial’s tweet did not mention Goldberg by name, several other Jewish leaders used it to call out the inaccuracy of Goldberg’s comments.
David Harris, a former president of the American Jewish Committee, an advocacy organization, retweeted the Hitler passage and addressed Goldberg, writing: “Stop claiming the Holocaust wasn’t about race. It was all about race.”
A Holocaust survivor, Lucy Lipiner, condemned Goldberg’s comments in a tweet, writing that she “continues to use the Holocaust as her punching bag.”
“We told her that her comments harm us and she simply doesn’t care,” Lipiner wrote, referring to Goldberg’s comments on “The View” in January.
Goldberg’s representative and a spokesperson for “The View” did not immediately reply to requests for comment Monday afternoon.
Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., wrote in a tweet linking to a news story about Goldberg’s most recent comments: “Antisemitism is anti-Jewish racism. Period. Claiming the Holocaust had nothing to do with racism is historical revisionism at its worst.”
Goldberg gave the interview to The Sunday Times after her appearance in “Till” — the recent film about the brutal abduction and killing of 14-year-old Emmett Till by two white men — in which she portrays Emmett’s grandmother Alma Carthan. Goldberg was also a producer of the film.