The View 's Whoopi Goldberg Claims the 'Holocaust Isn't About Race' During Discussion About Maus

·6 min read
The View
The View

ABC Whoopi Goldberg on The View

Whoopi Goldberg made some controversial comments on Monday's episode of The View.

During the ABC daytime talk show's "Hot Topics" segment, Goldberg argued that the "Holocaust isn't about race" as the co-hosts were debating whether it was fair that a Tennessee school chose to pull Maus, the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust, from its lesson plans.

On Monday evening, Goldberg, 66, issued an apology on social media. "On today's show, I said the Holocaust 'is not about race, but about man's inhumanity to man.' I should have said it is about both As Jonathan Greenblatt from the Anti-Defamation League shared, 'The Holocaust was about the Nazi's systematic annihilation of the Jewish people - who they deemed to be an inferior race.' I stand corrected."

For more on Whoopi Goldberg's apology, listen below to our daily podcast on PEOPLE Every Day.

In her apology, Goldberg added, "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. Written with my sincerest apologies, Whoopi Goldberg."

Goldberg said the comment on the show when she was talking about schools around the nation that have recently pulled certain books from the curriculum and required reading lists.

According to Goldberg, a Washington school pulled To Kill a Mockingbird due to "complaints" from parents and students, who claimed they felt "uncomfortable." Maus was also pulled from lessons at a school in Tennessee because "it contained some nudity and some bad language," Goldberg said.

"I'm surprised that's what made you uncomfortable, the fact that there was some nudity," she stated. "I mean, it's about the Holocaust, the killing of six million people, but that didn't bother you?"

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Co-host Joy Behar noted, "I'm not sure that they don't use the naked part as a kind of a canard to throw you off from the fact that they don't like history that makes white people look bad."

"Maybe," Goldberg responded. "Well, this is white people doing it to white people. Y'all go fight amongst yourselves."

The View co-hosts, including Sara Haines, Sunny Hostin, and Ana Navarro, continued to discuss the topic, arguing that the push to ban critical race theory in schools, and the refusal to allow kids to feel discomfort or pushback on their beliefs, is creating "confusion" and leaving students unprepared for "the real world."

Goldberg then stated: "If you're going to do this, now let's be truthful about it because the Holocaust isn't about race. No. It's not about race."

Behar was quick to point out that the Nazis considered Jewish people "a different race," but Goldberg doubled down on her stance, arguing that the Holocaust is simply "about man's inhumanity to man."

Navarro then said, "But it's about white supremacy. It's about going after Jews and Gypsies."

Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg

Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images Whoopi Goldberg

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When Goldberg stated that "these are two white groups of people," Haines noted that the Nazis "didn't see them as white" while Behar pointed out that they targeted Black people, as well.

"But you're missing the point! You're missing the point," Goldberg went on. "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. It doesn't matter if you are Black or white because Black, white, Jews, Italians — everybody eats each other. So if you are uncomfortable if you hear about Maus, should you be worried? Should your child say, 'Oh my God, I wonder if that's me?' No. That's not what they're going to say. They're going to say, 'I don't want to be like that.' "

Following the segment, viewers criticized Goldberg's comments on social media, calling them an "absurd claim" as well as "offensive & woefully ignorant."

"How in the world could Goldberg dare to say the Holocaust was not about race. Of course it was entirely about race," noted one Twitter user.

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"No @WhoopiGoldberg, the #Holocaust was about the Nazi's systematic annihilation of the Jewish people – who they deemed to be an inferior race. They dehumanized them and used this racist propaganda to justify slaughtering 6 million Jews. Holocaust distortion is dangerous. #ENOUGH" wrote Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League.

The US Holocaust Museum tweeted: "Racism was central to Nazi ideology. Jews were not defined by religion, but by race. Nazi racist beliefs fueled genocide and mass murder."

Other users attempted to understand Goldberg's point, with one person tweeting, "I think I know what Whoopi was trying to say—something about the problem of man's inhumanity to man being wider than just a question about race—but she expressed herself badly."

Later in Monday's show, guest Mayim Bialik weighed in on the Maus controversy.

Bialik — who wrote her Harvard College entrance essay on the novel — said Maus "had a tremendous impact" on her and "on culture and our cultural understanding of [the] representation of the Holocaust."

"It should be disturbing to young people," the Jeopardy! host noted. "The genocide of six million Jews, and of 11 million people of all races, creeds, colors, sexual orientations, is incredibly significant and in an age-appropriate way, we should be educating all of our children."

Addressing Goldberg's earlier comments, Bialik shared, "As Whoopi said, it's not just about Jews and it's not about race. It is about the things that humans do to each other and we continue to do those things to each other. These things are going on, still, all over the world. Genocide still exists and that, to me, is even more reason why we should encourage an age-appropriate reading of things like Maus."

The incident comes a few days after the world marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is held every year on January 27. The commemorative day honors the date when Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by the Red Army in 1945, as well as the six million Jewish people and millions of other minorities who were killed under Nazi Germany.