Bill Maher on Whoopi Goldberg’s ‘The View’ Suspension: ‘People Have to Learn to Disagree’

by Suzanne Halliburton

Bill Maher came to the defense of The View moderator Whoopi Goldberg Friday night, likening her suspension to Wheel of Fortune firing Pat Sajak for “selling a vowel.”

Goldberg is nearing the end of her two-week suspension from The View. And she became a hot topic Friday night on HBO’s Real-Time with Bill Maher.

“Whoopi shouldn’t apologize for her views on race, as much as I disagree, and have to sit out like a child and think about what she did,” Maher said of The View host. He said the suspension was akin to “firing Pat Sajak for selling a vowel.

“We have to get past this zero-tolerance mindset. The right response to speech you don’t like is more speech.”

Here’s What Whoopi Goldberg Said Before Two-Week Suspension

If you haven’t been paying attention to daytime TV drama, let’s catch up. On Jan, 31, The View panelists discussed a Tennessee school district’s decision to yank a children’s book about the Holocaust from the school’s middle-school curriculum. The book was Maus, which used cartoons to illustrate the Jews and Nazis. The women all were against preventing kids from reading the book. Then, the conversation got Goldberg in trouble.

Goldberg made the comment that the Holocaust wasn’t about race. Rather, she said it was about “man’s inhumanity to man.” Her comments on live TV quickly went viral, with intense blowback on social media. Goldberg issued an apology via Twitter, then broadened it the next day for The View. The show even had the head of the Anti-Defamation League to answer questions. Goldberg learned that the Nazis believed the Jews were an inferior race, which was why they killed them by the millions.

“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. “And 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.

“While discussing how a Tennessee school board unanimously voted to remove a graphic novel about the Holocaust, I said that the Holocaust wasn’t about race,” she said. “And it was instead about man’s inhumanity to man. But it was indeed about race because Hitler and the Nazis considered Jews to be an inferior race.”

Her apology wasn’t enough for ABC network officials. They suspended Goldberg later that day and told her to sit out The View for the next two weeks. The suspension should end this Wednesday.

Bill Maher & Whoopi’s Recent Clashes

Maher and Goldberg also have clashed this year. Maher and some of his guests called for all Covid mandates to end, proclaiming they’re over the pandemic.

“People have to learn to disagree in this country and not hate for it,” Maher said Friday night. “Whoopi said I was flippant and immoral for (being in favor of) chucking the masks. That’s okay. She’s allowed to be wrong. It’s 11 am, who can think clearly at that hour? I’m still in REM sleep.”

Maher also used Goldberg’s suspension as a talking point for last week’s show. Maher questioned ABC executives telling a 66-year-old woman to go home and reflect on what she’d done.

In particular, he criticized ABC News’ response that Goldberg “reflect and learn about the impact of her comments.”

“How insulting for someone of her age, who is a sophisticated person,” Maher said.