Joy Reid: Whoopi Should Have NO PUNISHMENT for Holocaust Comments

Of course, one of the most vile and incendiary people on TV thinks there should be consequences for saying such things. That’s the argument MSNBC’s Joy Reid made during Wednesday’s edition of The ReidOut, suggesting that it would have been better for ABC to use Whoopi Goldberg’s (stage name) anti-Semitic remarks about the Holocaust as a “teachable moment” rather than suspending her for two weeks (aka a vacation).

“Plus, the fallout for Whoopi Goldberg comments about race and the Holocaust and whether that could have been less about punishment and more about having a teachable moment,” she proclaimed in a pre-commercial tease.

She made it clear in the second tease that keeping Whoopi on TV was the goal. “Coming up, ABC suspends Whoopi Goldberg for her recent remarks on race and the Holocaust. Did the network miss out on a prime opportunity for discussion and learning,” she wondered.

In reality, Reid wouldn’t extend such grace if Whoopi was a conservative or espoused right-wing politics.

Reid further defended Whoopi by noting that she had been absolved of all wrong doing by Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt:

REID: Hours after those comments, Goldberg apologized saying that she “misspoke.” She apologized again the following day. Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt joined Whoopi and other View hosts to explain how her comments were inaccurate and harmful.

(…)

REID: On Tuesday night, Greenblatt warned about unfairly condemning Goldberg over the comments, saying, “I don’t believe in cancel culture, we need counsel culture.”

The first panelist she brought on to discuss her premise was The Atlantic’s Yair Rosenberg, to which she cartoonishly asked: “What do you make of this situation and if you, you know, were the king of the world and could make everything happen the way you want it, do you think that suspending her was the right move?”

Rosenberg’s position seemed reasonable: that people should be given the opportunity to learn and grow and we as a society should not hold people’s worst moments over their heads indefinitely. “Even when they apologize, there is a sense there needs to be consequences, that we need to punish someone or it doesn’t count,” he said.

Adding: “If I was king of the world, I would change that not just here but almost every situation that we do that. I think that it’s important there be consequences and that there be accountability. But, I think, as a society especially in the age of social media with screenshots and reducing people to the worst.”

Reid then called on entertainment journalist Chris Witherspoon who thought the punishment didn’t allow The View to live up to its potential as a place to “learn” (click “expand”):

And I think that the table, if you look at the table, this is so much learning that can happen at The View. You think about what The View was meant to be when it first started out. It wasn’t always under ABC News.

It got under ABC News in 2014. Back when it first started, it was under ABC Entertainment and that show was a place to have lively discourse, lively debate, lively discussions, and to really learn from each other. And I feel like when you remove someone’s chair and you suspend them, you almost take away a chance to learn.

Witherspoon through Whoopi’s appearance with Stephen Colbert Monday night was ill-advised and she instead should have spent more time with co-host Sunny Hostin, because “her grandfather is a Sephardic Jew. She’s someone I believe also could kind of school Whoopi throughout this week if she was on the air about the nuances of the Jewish culture.”

Joy Reid’s advocacy on behalf of Whoopi was made possible because of lucrative sponsorships from Vicks and Liberty Mutual. Their contact information is linked.

The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:

MSNBC’s The ReidOut
February 2, 2022
7:29:52 p.m. Eastern

JOY REID: Coming up, ABC suspends Whoopi Goldberg for her recent remarks on race and the Holocaust. Did the network miss out on a prime opportunity for discussion and learning? Hmm. We’ll be right back.

(…)

7:34:12 p.m. Eastern

REID: Last night, ABC News suspended Whoopi Goldberg for two weeks from The View a day after a discussion about a Tennessee school board banning graphic novel Maus, which is about Nazi death camps during WWII.

(…)

REID: Hours after those comments, Goldberg apologized saying that she “misspoke.” She apologized again the following day. Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt joined Whoopi and other View hosts to explain how her comments were inaccurate and harmful.

(…)

REID: On Tuesday night, Greenblatt warned about unfairly condemning Goldberg over the comments, saying, “I don’t believe in cancel culture, we need counsel culture.”

Joining me now is Yair Rosenberg, contributing writer for The Atlantic where he writes the Deep Shtetl newsletter. And Chris Witherspoon entertainment journalist and founder and CEO of PopViewers. Thank you both for being here.

And I’m going to start with you Mr. Rosenberg. So, here is ABC News’s — this is her statement. She’s named Kim Goodwin, she the ABC News president. And she wrote, “While Whoopi apologized, I’ve asked her to take time to reflect and learn about the impact of her comments. The entire ABC news organization stands in solidarity with our Jewish colleagues, friends, family, and communities.”

What do you make of this situation and if you, you know, were the king of the world and could make everything happen the way you want it, do you think that suspending her was the right move?

YAIR ROSENBERG: What I think ABC did here is what we increasingly do when a public figure or even someone in our lives messes up, makes a mistake like this. Even when they apologize, there is a sense there needs to be consequences, that we need to punish someone or it doesn’t count. We don’t just accept an apology and say we hope this person will change and grow.

If I was king of the world, I would change that not just here but almost every situation that we do that. I think that it’s important there be consequences and that there be accountability. But, I think, as a society especially in the age of social media with screenshots and reducing people to the worst moments in tweets, we sort of become this society that doesn’t allow a path for people to grow or change or apologize.

And Whoopi apologized on air. And she understood what she said was incorrect and it’s led to this great conversation where people are learning things they otherwise wouldn’t have learned and wouldn’t that be a better conversation to have had on The View than take Whoopi off The View and then to stop the conversation. So, that’s more of what I’d like to see.

(…)

REID: Indeed.

Chris, let’s get to the TV of it, cause there’s a lot to pack in. Number one, I wondered was there a publicist involved in her doing that second interview that night? I’m curious about that. But can you take us inside a little bit? How did her — do you know how the fellow cast mates on The View reacted to it and just as a media enterprise, media world story, what do you make of this?

CHRIS WITHERSPOON: I mean, one, I think that she should not have gone on the Colbert Report — on a Colbert show because it wasn’t really thought out. I feel like she should have saved it for the next morning to do something that was a bit more produced, a bit more thoughtful and had sort of the co-sign of her bosses at ABC news.

And I think that the table, if you look at the table, this is so much learning that can happen at The View. You think about what The View was meant to be when it first started out. It wasn’t always under ABC News.

It got under ABC News in 2014. Back when it first started, it was under ABC Entertainment and that show was a place to have lively discourse, lively debate, lively discussions, and to really learn from each other. And I feel like when you remove someone’s chair and you suspend them, you almost take away a chance to learn.

I think a lot about how Oprah, when she had her talk show, she always said, on her best days, her talk show was a classroom. And I think on The View, some days you are a teacher, some days you are a student. And if you suspend someone, they can no longer be in class and learn and get schooled.

I think Whoopi being there and coming back, she’ll be able to learn and get schooled by her other panelists. One of them, her grandfather is Sephardic Jew. Sunny Hostin, her grandfather is a Sephardic Jew. She’s someone I believe also could kind of school Whoopi throughout this week if she was on the air about the nuances of the Jewish culture.

(…)

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