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Whoopi Goldberg issues apology after using slur on air

By Ben Marquis
|
March 16, 2023

Whoopi Goldberg, a co-host of ABC's "The View," used a word on Wednesday's program deemed by some to be a racial slur, ironically while discussing former President Donald Trump, who Goldberg and her other co-hosts have often accused of being racist.

Shortly after the program aired, Goldberg issued a public apology and acknowledged the offensive connotations of the word "gypped" and that she shouldn't have used it, the Daily Mail reported.

"I'm really, really sorry"

The panel of "The View" on Wednesday was discussing the latest developments with regard to the Manhattan district attorney's efforts to criminally indict former President Trump over the "hush money" payment he gave to former porn actress Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election.

Goldberg made a passing reference to Trump's supporters who "still believe that he got, you know, gypped somehow" in the 2020 election.

Immediately after the show, Goldberg posted a short video clip to the Twitter account of "The View" in which she apologized for her use of the word "gypped."

"You know when you're a certain age, you use words that you know from when you're a kid or you remember saying," Goldberg said. "That's what I did today, and I shouldn't have. I should have thought about it a little longer before I said it, but I didn't. And I should have said 'cheated,' but I used another word and I'm really, really sorry."

Origin of the term

According to Merriam-Webster, the word "gypped" is the verb form of "gyp," which means "one who cheats" or "swindler," or to be cheated or defrauded.

It is believed to originate from the term "gypsy," which was a derogatory racial slur for the Roma people who were mistakenly believed to have come from Egypt and North Africa but actually migrated from India to travel about and settle in Central and Eastern Europe and elsewhere in the Middle Ages.

Similar to the Jewish people who settled in those same regions, Roma and "gypsies" have since faced centuries of hatred and persecution as perpetual outsiders, especially during the period of Nazi rule in the 1930s-1940s.

Over time, and whether fairly or not, the Roma people were broadly stereotyped with the "reputation of thieves, liars, loafers, and generally untrustworthy and unpredictable eternal strangers."

Most people are unaware of racial stereotype

NPR reported in 2013 on how the current usage of the term "gypped" was viewed as hurtful and offensive by the Roma people due to its negative connotations and stereotyped reputation.

Of course, most people have little or no idea of the origin of the term or the racial stereotypes behind its commonly understood modern meaning of being cheated or defrauded or stolen from.

Ian Hancock, a University of Texas professor born in the United Kingdom of Roma parents, told NPR at that time, "I encounter a lot of people who tell me that they never knew the word 'gypped' had anything to do with gypsies, or that it's offensive -- especially when the word is heard, not read."

"My response to them is, 'That's okay. You didn't know but now you do. So stop using it. It may mean nothing to you, but when we hear it, it still hurts,'" the professor added.

Not the first time

The Daily Mail noted that this isn't the first time that Goldberg has gotten in trouble and been forced to apologize for saying something deemed to be racially insensitive or offensive, as she was actually briefly suspended from "The View" in early 2022 for dismissing and downplaying the racial nature of the Holocaust.

Whether Goldberg will again face punishment for her choice of words, either from ABC or society more broadly, remains unclear.