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Whoopi Goldberg apologizes again after reiterating false claim that Holocaust "wasn't originally" about race

Whoopi Goldberg has once again apologized for her false claims about the Holocaust after The Sunday Times of London published an interview with the actor on Saturday. During that interview, Goldberg, co-host of ABC's "The View," reiterated a statement made at the beginning of the year that the massacre of more than 6 million Jewish people "wasn't originally" about race.

She received significant criticism for her claims, including from Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, who called her comments "deeply offensive and incredibly ignorant" and said prove a "complete lack of awareness of the multiethnic, multiracial makeup of the Jewish community." 

Following the backlash, Goldberg issued an apology to Entertainment Tonight, but said she was not "doubling down" on past comments.

"I was asked about my comments from earlier this year. I tried to convey to the reporter what I had said and why, and attempted to recount that time. It was never my intention to appear as if I was doubling down on hurtful comments," she said, adding that she has talked to people, including rabbis, about her original comments. 

Goldberg first made the public statements on an episode of "The View" about 10 months ago, saying at the time that "the Holocaust isn't about race," but rather, "inhumanity to man."

She later apologized and was suspended from the show for two weeks for her comments. 

Then in an interview with The Sunday Times, Goldberg – whose real name is Caryn Johnson and goes by a self-given name she has said comes from a Jewish relative – said there is division about whether Judaism is a race or a religion. That's when the interviewer noted that to the Nazis, it was a race, hence the Holocaust, which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 6 million Jews. 

"That's the killer, isn't it" Goldberg responded. "The oppressor is telling you what you are. Why are you believing them? They're Nazis. Why believe what they're saying?"

The yellow badge. Artist: Anonymous
The yellow badge Jewish people were forced to wear during the Holocaust.  Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images

The interview then mentioned the Nazi-era laws that specifically targeted Jewish people. According to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime issued more than 400 decrees and regulations against Jewish people in the first six years of his rule. The legislative actions started with limiting Jewish people's participation in public life and within a few years, the Jewish population was segregated from other Germans and forced to identify themselves as Jewish. 

And it wasn't just forced upon those who practiced the religion. According to the Memorial Museum, it was also those who had Jewish grandparents, even those who had converted to Christianity. 

Despite this, Goldberg insisted the Holocaust "wasn't originally about race." 

"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," she said, later adding, "... 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."

The interviewer wrote that Goldberg then pondered whether a Jewish person is still part of the Jewish race if they are no longer practicing their religion. And when the interviewer asked whether race can be more about skin color, Goldberg responded, "Well, it's not in its official… when you look it up."

But at its core, the Nazi focus was on pushing the idea of the "Aryan" race, a false racial identity that was adopted by Hitler to classify a superior group of people that mostly excluded those who were Jewish, as well as those who were Black or Roma and Sinti, according to the Memorial Museum.   

And Hitler himself called Judaism a race, saying in one of his first major statements that "Jews are definitely a race, and not a religious belief." In that same statement, he called Jewish people an "alien race" and said that antisemitism must have "the ultimate aim" of "the irreversible elimination...of all Jews." 

Goldberg's comments swiftly received criticism, including from 89-year-old Holocaust survivor Lucy Lipiner.

"Whoopi Goldberg continues to use the Holocaust as her punching bag. We told her that her comments harm us and she simply doesn't care. I survived the Nazis and the Holocaust, so I'll be damned if I let a comedy has-been, peddling a fake Jewish name get the better of me," she tweeted

Video game director Luc Bernard said that Goldberg needs to be forced "to go to a Holocaust memorial and learn about the Nuremberg laws." 

In her apology to ET, Goldberg said that she is still "learning a lot."

"Believe me, I heard everything everyone said to me," she said. "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. My sincere apologies again, especially to everyone who thought this was a fresh rehash of the subject. I promise it was not. In this time of rising antisemitism, I want to be very clear when I say that I always stood with the Jewish people and always will. My support for them has not wavered and never will." 

"The View" and its network ABC have not issued a public statement about Goldberg's latest comments. 

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