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An uncomfortable moment unfolded on “The View” on Thursday when a defiant Whoopi Goldberg was forced to explain a “joke” about Sen. Lindsey Graham, RS.C., in an earlier segment that appeared to allude to gay marriage.
After White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre lit into Graham about his call for a federal limit on abortions after 15 weeks, she asked “what changed” with him, since Graham had earlier declared issues like abortion and marriage should be left up to the states.
“Maybe he’s getting married,” Goldberg said bluntly, as the panel and audience laughed.
“I doubt that,” co-host Joy Behar said.
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“Do it quickly, because I know people are fooling around with our marriage rights, wherever you stand,” Goldberg said.
Many progressives have fretted that the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June could precede state or federal bans on same-sex marriage or even interracial marriage.
After a commercial break, Goldberg said she had to address something before introducing the next topic.
“Sometimes I make jokes, and it was a joke. Nothing more than that,” she said.
Goldberg appeared flustered as she went on, apparently alluding to an off-camera conversation with producers.
“I just got a whole conversation about people misunderstanding the joke. I mean, OK. I should probably never do this show again,” she said, gesturing at someone off-screen. “If this is what it’s coming to. It was a joke, guys.”
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Goldberg never mentioned Graham, and while no one came out and said it, it appeared ABC producers were concerned Goldberg was making a quip about Graham’s sexual orientation. A lifelong bachelor, Graham has repeatedly been the subject of mockery on the left as being secretly gay.
Figures like Chelsea Handler, Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, Patti LuPone and others have made crude remarks or implicit references to his orientation over the years, and such jokes are plentiful on Twitter and other social media platforms.
Behar’s remarks that she doubted Graham was getting married appeared to also allude to the joke.
“The View” hosts have repeatedly over the years been forced to read on-air corrections and legal disclaimers about their dubious assertions, or hastily explain earlier off-color remarks.
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Goldberg got in hot water earlier this year when she falsely said the Holocaust was not about race, referring to Jews and Gypsies as “two White groups of people.” ABC suspended Goldberg for two weeks for the remarks, for which she later apologized.