Whoopi and the Limits of Friendship


Whoopi Goldberg has been engaged in a public battle with fans, bloggers and pundits over her comments about Mel Gibson’s rant heard ’round the world. Tapes of Gibson’s tirades against his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva keep leaking like the BP oil spill and show no signs of stopping. Gibson made a number of abusive and misogynistic comments, one of which involved the way Grigorieva dressed. Funny how many have glossed over his obvious hatred toward this woman and headed straight to his racist comments. You know the comment — the one that follows the misogynistic ranting and includes the verbiage ”raped by a pack of n******.” People went off, calling Gibson everything but a child of God. I thought it was interesting that some felt free to use venomous language when talking about him, while condemning Gibson for using venomous language simultaneously.

Despite the hypocrisy, I understood where his critics were coming from; Gibson is a man who had come under fire for an anti-Semitic rant in 2006 against a police officer who was arresting him for driving under the influence. Once is a mistake, but twice? Houston, we have a problem.

Gibson’s latest tirade — which was abusive, sexist, misogynistic and racist — made headlines and was the talk of the media. I watched the morning shows and actually found the time to catch The View, a show I must admit that I rarely watch, on the day the story leaked. Whoopi Goldberg said a lot of things about Mel Gibson, but a lot of people latched on to her comment that she didn’t think he was racist. Still, she did call him out for his bad behavior. And she talked about alcoholics, whom she referred to as ”drunks” and how, when under the influence, they will say anything. (After his 2006 DUI arrest, Gibson checked into a rehab facility.) Then she muttered something that sounded like ”ass****s” and made her now-famous declaration that he is not a racist. Read more at TheRoot.com.

This article originally appeared on TheRoot.com where Nsenga serves as editor-at-large. She writes the Buzz section and is a regular contributor to the publication.