Co-host of The View, Whoopi Goldberg, slammed a Texas newspaper after it published disturbing video footage of the Robb Elementary shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
The Austin American-Stateman leaked over an hour of footage from inside the school during the shooting. The footage shows the gunman entering the building and the police’s response to the situation. Local law enforcement has drawn heavy criticism for the way they responded to the shooter.
Goldberg addressed the footage during Wednesday’s episode of The View on live TV. She noted the outlet’s decision to release the sensitive material has caused major outrage amongst the families of the victims. The committee performing the investigation had intended to show the video to local community members privately.
As reported by Entertainment Weekly, Goldberg passionately called on the outlet to feel shame for its decision to release the footage before the victims’ families ever got to see it.
“I find it indefensible. I’m sorry, you forgot that, attached to all those sounds are people’s children, and you didn’t have to do this. They were going to see this video on Sunday. You did not have to release this and leak it,” Goldberg said. “I think it’s appalling and you should be ashamed of yourselves for doing that. For being thoughtless about the parents who have to relive this every day because it’s on television every time you turn around.”
She continued, “I don’t know if you guys over at that newspaper have kids, but, shame on you. I know it doesn’t mean anything coming from me, but shame on you.”
The Debate Behind Releasing the Footage
Sunny Hostin, one of Goldberg’s co-hosts, said leaking the video was a “difficult balancing act” of journalistic ethics. “It’s so important that we be able to, as the public… videos, in my view, lead to just results, increased training, awareness, it can really change the public narrative,” Hostin said.
Goldberg added that even though the footage confirmed the officers didn’t respond swiftly enough, releasing the footage without giving the families to see themselves first was problematic. “For them not to have given them a heads up… these are real people, these are real children that died,” Goldberg said.
Manny Garcia, Ethics and Standards Editor for the American-Statesman, defended the decision to release the footage in an official statement. “Our goal is to continue to bring to light what happened at Robb Elementary. Which the families and friends of the Uvalde victims have long been asking for.”
The audio was edited out of the footage before release. Garcia said there were “long and thoughtful discussions” on the best course of action. “We have to bear witness to history, and transparency and unrelenting reporting is a way to bring change. This story is part of a much larger public records and legal battle from our journalists. Aligned with reporters in Uvalde, around Texas and the United States, to obtain all videos of the tragedy, body-camera footage, communications, 911 calls and more. We are all aligned for the truth.”