In a statement, ABC News president Kim Godwin bluntly described Goldberg’s comments about the Holocaust, which were made on “The View” Monday, as “wrong and hurtful.”
“While Whoopi has apologized, I’ve asked her to take time to reflect and learn about the impact of her comments,” Godwin said. “The entire ABC News organization stands in solidarity with our Jewish colleagues, friends, family and communities.”
“But words matter and we must be cognizant of the impact our words have,” Godwin told staffers in her memo explaining the network’s decision to suspend the actor and comedian.
“I’m sorry for the hurt I have caused,” Goldberg said in her written statement.
“I said something that I feel a responsibility for not leaving unexamined, because my words upset so many people, which was never my intention,” Goldberg said. “I understand why now, and for that I am deeply, deeply grateful because the information I got was really helpful, and it helped me understand some different things.”
“I said the Holocaust wasn’t about race and was instead about man’s inhumanity to man,” Goldberg added. “But it is indeed about race because Hitler and the Nazis considered Jews to be an inferior race.”
She continued, “Now, words matter and mine are no exception. I regret my comments, as I said, and I stand corrected. I also stand with the Jewish people as they know and y’all know, because I’ve always done that.”
Others, however, came to Goldberg’s defense and noted that her comments were made out of ignorance, not malice. One ABC News staffer told CNN that Goldberg had apologized and appeared to learn from her mistake, which they believed was key in evaluating whether to accept her apology.
Ana Navarro, a CNN political commentator who regularly guest hosts on “The View,” separately told CNN that Goldberg’s colleagues “know what’s in her heart” and that she’s “not an anti-Semite.”
“When you have five women, discussing complex topics, in five-minute segments on unscripted, live TV, sometimes things come out the wrong way,” Navarro said. “We are human and make mistakes. The difference between us and others is, we acknowledge it and try to correct it. Whoopi clarified and apologized without caveats.”
Ultimately, however, after staying silent for most of the day, Godwin notified employees that she had made the decision to take disciplinary action.
“I don’t believe in cancel culture,” Greenblatt said. “I like the phrase that my friend Nick Cannon uses: We need counsel culture. We shouldn’t cancel Whoopi because she made a mistake.”
Goldberg has survived a number of controversies throughout her nearly 15 years on “The View.”
In 2009 she remarked that Roman Polanski was not guilty of “rape-rape,” a comment which she later clarified. Goldberg also initially defended Bill Cosby as he faced sexual assault accusations, a position she ultimately reversed.