Sister Act star Whoopi Goldberg has sparked a backlash online, after she claimed the Holocaust “isn’t about race” during an episode of the US talk show, The View.
Ms Goldberg made the remarks on Monday’s episode, when the panel were discussing the decision by a school board in Tennessee to ban Maus, a graphic novel about the state-sponsored murder which saw around 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis.
“Let’s be truthful about it, because the Holocaust isn’t about race. It’s not about race … because it’s about man’s inhumanity to man,” the comedian said.
Her comments were quickly challenged by her co-hosts, with Joy Behar pointing out that Jews were considered “a different race” by the Nazis.
Ana Navarro said it was about “white supremacy”, while Sara Haines said the Nazis “didn’t see [Jews] as white”.
“But these are two white groups of people … 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. That’s the problem,” continued Ms Goldberg.
The "dangerous" comments were quickly condemned by users on Twitter:
i love whoopi goldberg but saying that the holocaust \u201cwasn\u2019t about race\u201d because it was \u201cbetween two groups of white people\u201d is what happens when you only see world events through an american lens
Yes @WhoopiGoldberg it is about race. Pick up a book and read about Nazi racial theories where Jews were a eace, a sub-human race, to them.\nThe Holocaust was not a generic \u201cman\u2019s inhumanity to man\u201d. It was the Final Solution of the Nazis to SPECIFICALLY exterminate all Jews!https://twitter.com/nickfondacaro/status/1488191258598199301\u00a0\u2026
Whoopi Goldberg's comments about the Holocaust show how dangerous and misinformed it is to consider 'race' as fixed, and also as depoliticised. Someone's 'race' can change depending on where they are and who's in power. 'Race' is constructed.
Whoopi Goldberg explaining that the Holocaust wasn't about race because these were "two groups of white people" isn't just insipid, it's insidious. It's downplaying the minority status of Jews in order to uphold bullshit intersectional arguments that justify anti-Semitism today.
Newsflash @WhoopiGoldberg 6 million of us were gassed, starved and massacred because we were deemed an inferior race by the Nazis.\u00a0\n\nHow dare you minimize our trauma and suffering!\u00a0pic.twitter.com/nD8drxWpxJ
It\u2019s FUCKING WILD that race is a social construct, the Nazis created a catalogue of races, labeled their own the \u201cmaster race,\u201d classified Jews as the \u201cinferior race,\u201d and Whoopi Goldberg, antisemites, and even some Jews on this bird app don\u2019t think that Jews experience racism.
@WhoopiGoldberg \u2018Holocaust\u2013the destruction of European Jews\u2019 \nA seven-chapter online course about the history of the #Holocaust. \n\nLinks to all chapters below in the tweet below.\nhttps://twitter.com/AuschwitzMuseum/status/1347177386455011329?s=20\u00a0\u2026pic.twitter.com/YJqwbG9ld0
— Auschwitz Memorial (@Auschwitz Memorial)
.@WhoopiGoldberg You deeply hurt &offended me. By minimizing the horror of the Holocaust, the systematic annihilating of 6 MILLION Jews-which by the way IS a race-an attempted GENOCIDE to white on white crime? You \u201cAll Lives Matter,\u201d -ed us. Devastating & dangerous.
Hi @WhoopiGoldberg, \n\nI am a Holocaust survivor from NYC. My family was killed for not being white. Hitler & Nazis NEEDED to exterminate Jews because we weren\u2019t "white enough" for them. \n\nI'm happy to meet and educate you about what really happened in the Holocaust.pic.twitter.com/GAnEsVxTwx
No @WhoopiGoldberg, the #Holocaust was about the Nazi\u2019s systematic annihilation of the Jewish people \u2013 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. #ENOUGHhttps://twitter.com/thedailybeast/status/1488220560920350733\u00a0\u2026
— Jonathan Greenblatt (@Jonathan Greenblatt)
Ms Goldberg later released a statement responding to the outcry, writing that she “should have said it was about both [race and man’s inhumanity to man]”.
Referencing comments made by Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League – a Jewish anti-hate organisation based in the US – the comedian continued to say she “stand[s] corrected”.
“The Jewish people around the world have always had my support and that will never waiver. I’m sorry for the hurt I caused,” she said, adding that the statement was written with her “sincerest apologies”.