On the September 26 edition of the ABC show, “20/20,” actress Whoopi Goldberg made several very harsh and unfair statements about Pope John Paul II. Interviewed by Barbara Walters about her new book, Goldberg said that this pope “infuriates” her; she indicted him for rejecting gays and young people.
The night prior to the interview, William Donohue had a chance to preview the interview and expressed his complaints on the NBC show, “Extra.” The following news release sums up his position:
“Whoopi Goldberg is known for two things: her acting and her political extremism. Unfortunately, her fondness for the politics of radicalism allows her to rail against the pope. But even so, she should learn to get some things right. Pope John Paul II welcomes gays as well as straights into the church. He no more rejects homosexuals because he disapproves of sodomy than he rejects heterosexuals because he disapproves of fornication and adultery. As for young people, the millions of young men and women who attended World Youth Day in Paris this past summer, and in Denver in 1993, removes all doubt that he is loved by youth.
“The Catholic League cannot overlook that it is the Disney-owned station, ABC, that is featuring Goldberg’s tirade. It was Disney that gave us the movie, ‘Priest’; it was ABC’s Peter Jennings that allowed abusive comments to be made about Mother Teresa during her funeral; and it is ABC that is currently treating us to ‘Nothing Sacred.’ It’s enough to make Catholics wonder whether there isn’t something devilishly wrong with these folks.”
Upon hearing Donohue’s comments on “Extra,” Goldberg called the Catholic League president to discuss the matter with him. But Donohue was doing a TV interview at the time and so Goldberg spoke to league research analyst Tamara Collins. The actress asked Donohue to read her book and then call her about his concerns.
That same day, Goldberg had a personal letter delivered to Donohue, along with a copy of her book. Donohue read the book and decided it wasn’t worth getting back to her about it. He said it was “pure filth, the kind of screed that one might expect from an immature adolescent boy, not from an adult professional woman.”
The flap between Goldberg and Donohue wound up in the pages of the National Enquirer. Whoopi!