Whoopi Goldberg's "View" Producer Said "We Pay You" for Controversial Comments
The host shared a letter she received from the late Bill Geddie after she was suspended.
In February 2022, Whoopi Goldberg found herself in hot water after making offensive comments about the Holocaust on The View. The actor and talk show host apologized and was suspended from the talk show for two weeks. Now, Goldberg has shared more of what happened behind the scenes, including support she received from an executive producer. On the Monday, July 24 episode of The View, Goldberg and her co-hosts remembered Bill Geddie, who co-created the series with Barbara Walters and died on July 20 at age 68. The Ghost star revealed that Geddie backed her up after last year's scandal, telling her, "We pay you to do this." Read on to find out more.
Geddie reached out to her amid the backlash.
As reported by Decider, on Monday's episode, the View panel—joined by former host Sherri Shepherd—spoke about Geddie's involvement in the show and their memories of him. Goldberg brought up that Geddie expressed his support for her when she was suspended from the show.
"I was asked to stay off for a week or two. They told me to take a break," Goldberg said. "Bill wrote me and said, 'You know, this is the nature of the show. That's why we brought you in—we're paying you. We pay you to do this, we pay you to give your opinion. Not everybody's gonna like it. But don't ever think that you did something you shouldn't have done because that's what we do at The View.'"
Goldberg was criticized for a Holocaust comment.
While Goldberg didn't refer back to the comment that landed her in hot water during Monday's episode, she was suspended after a taping in February 2022. At that time, the hosts were discussing the graphic novel Maus by Art Spiegelman being banned by a Tennessee school board. The book, which is considered a classic, is about the author's father, a Holocaust survivor. As reported by Variety, Goldberg said during the conversation, "Let's be truthful about it because [the] Holocaust isn't about race. It's not about race. It's about man's inhumanity to man."
Immediately, criticism of Goldberg's words came pouring in, including Jewish organizations clarifying that the Holocaust was about race and that saying otherwise is untruthful and dangerous.
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She apologized publicly and was suspended.
Goldberg apologized on social media the same day that the episode aired. And on the episode that aired the following day, she apologized again.
"So yesterday on our show, I misspoke," she said (via Variety). "I said that the Holocaust wasn't about race and it was instead about man's inhumanity to man. But it is indeed about race, because Hitler and the Nazis considered the Jews to be an inferior race. 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 as you all know because I've always done that."
As reported by CBS News, ABC News president Kim Godwin subsequently announced that Goldberg would be off of the show for two weeks for her "wrong and hurtful comments." Godwin added in a statement, "While Whoopi has apologized, I've asked her to take time to reflect and learn about the impact of her comments."
Goldberg made headlines again in December 2022 when she addressed her comments in an interview and, to some, appeared to be doubling down. She then apologized again and said that she was trying to explain what she thought at the time, according to Variety.
Goldberg said Geddie spoke up for her in the past, too.
According to Decider, Goldberg also said during the panelists' memorializing of Geddie that the producer offered his support when she made a controversial comment early on in her career on The View. The Oscar-winner joined the show in 2007.
"My first week started with me having a conversation with y'all about Michael Vick," Goldberg said. At the time, the football player had just pleaded guilty to federal charges related to a dog fighting ring. As reported by Reuters, Goldberg suggested that Vick participating in dog fighting was "part of his cultural upbringing" because he was from the south.
"[The public was] saying, 'Burn that broad. Burn that broad, get her off television,'" Goldberg said on the new episode. "Every time I've stepped in it, [Geddie would] say, 'That's the beauty of the show. Everyone has an opinion and that's why we do it.'"
Shepherd shared what Geddie told her during a controversial moment.
Goldberg wasn't the only one who claimed Geddie defended her after headline-making comments. On a 2007 episode of The View, Shepherd famously said that she did not believe in evolution and wasn't sure if the Earth is round or flat, because she "never thought about it." Shepherd later explained elsewhere that she knows the Earth is round.
As reported by Deadline, Shepherd said Monday that she told Geddie that she wanted to clarify on the show that she knows the Earth is not flat. "Bill said, 'No! This is ratings, baby!,'" the host claimed. She also said that he told her, "Sherri, if we apologize for everything this would be called The Apology Show. It's called The View."