Al Franken says Whoopi Goldberg’s name is proof she’s not anti-Semitic: ‘She chose Goldberg’

Former Democratic Sen. Al Franken suggested on Wednesday that Whoopi Goldberg is not anti-Semitic because she chose “Goldberg” as her stage name.

“The View” co-host was suspended from the show on Tuesday after she declared repeatedly on-air that the Holocaust was “not about race.” The former Minnesota senator addressed ABC’s handling of the incident during a CNN on appearance on Wednesday, citing the fact that she went by a traditionally Jewish last name professionally as proof that she is not anti-Semitic.


“Well, I know Whoopi, she is not anti-Semitic,” Franken said. “She chose Goldberg for her last name for a stage name.”

Goldberg, born Caryn Elaine Johnson, adopted the name in 1984 as her Broadway career was taking off.

Former Sen. Al Franken (left) | Whoopi Goldberg (left)

Former Sen. Al Franken (left) | Whoopi Goldberg (left)

Goldberg backtracked on her comments on Monday, offering a written apology, telling “The Late Show” that she understands she upset people after receiving “very angry” messages from the public. She seemed to somewhat defend her remarks, though, saying as a Black woman she viewed race as something she could see.

“I understand,” she said. “I felt differently. I respect everything everyone is saying to me and I don’t want to fake apologize.”

On Tuesday, she apologized again and Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt appeared on “The View” to correct her comments. 


Franken, who was ousted from the Senate by his own party amid sexual misconduct allegations in 2018, praised Goldberg for issuing a “sincere and wholesome apology.”

“I think she gave a sincere apology,” he said. “I think what she said wasn’t quite what she meant. I thought it was great they had the head of the Anti-Defamation League on. I don’t know how they’ve handled other guests or hosts on that show before, but I was very taken with how sincere and wholesome the apology was.”

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