Whoopi Goldberg On Viola Davis' Emmys Speech: "Not Sure What It Means"

Photo: REX USA.
People had a lot to say about Viola Davis' galvanizing Emmys speech last month. While most viewers loved Davis' raw emotion and appreciated her fearlessness in calling out racial inequities in Hollywood, some may have disagreed. But, nobody walked away from hearing her speech unclear about its message, the essence of which is distilled in the most widely quoted line: "The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity."

Nobody, that is, except for Whoopi Goldberg. The View co-host made some surprisingly tone-deaf comments about opportunity for women of color in Hollywood in a new interview with BET.com. Asked about her thoughts on Davis' statement, Whoopi said she didn't understand it. "I'm not sure what it means. Opportunity to do what?" Wait, Whoopi, for real?

"Well, I’m not sure what it means. Opportunity to do what? Do you know what I mean?... The truth of the matter is there’s been plenty of opportunity. I mean, Scandal. Let’s just start with that. Kerry Washington is there and she’s working her booty off, okay? But they didn’t vote for her. So, maybe the question is, 'What do you have to do to get voted on?' That's the thing."

Now, that sounds alarmingly like the kind of thing some misguided person might say while insisting that racism doesn't exist anymore because, you know, Obama. Goldberg went on, "It's not that the opportunity is not there, because we've had lots of opportunities." Apparently, there are plenty of roles for actresses of color, so what's all the fuss about? (Side note: Whoopi must be getting a lot of casting calls that her fellow actors of color are not...and presumably turning them all down.)

She went on to argue that it's not the roles that are lacking; it's the absence of awards-show recognition for the performances. "If you don't get the pat on the back that says, 'Yes it's okay to hire these women'— See now there will be more parts, more dramas, because Viola won the Emmy award." She concluded, "So, they'll hire more black women." Meaning... there will be more opportunity? Opportunity that wasn't there before? Yeah, that's what we thought. Silly Whoopi.

Watch the perplexing interview in full below.
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