How Whoopi Goldberg bounced back after being 'out of work for five years'

Whoopi Goldberg opened up about finding her feet after a devastating blow to her career

Whoopi Goldberg discusses career
(Image credit: Prince Williams / Contributor/ Getty Images)

Whoopi Goldberg discussed some of the hardest years of her career, how she coped, how she bounced back, and why she disagrees with cancel culture; during a recent conversation with presenter and journalist Jackie Adedeji.

Although she's known for countless films, TV shows, and stage appearances—even the icon that is Whoopi has had tough times. Her movies like Sister Act and Ghost, which she says would have been a disaster if Patrick Swayze hadn't made this huge decision, mean that she's very much a global superstar.

However, the star spoke to Jackie about the tougher times, as a part of the internationally renowned Edinburgh TV Festival, which takes place in Scotland's capital each year.

Whoopi spoke about the time when her career stalled after she allegedly joked about President George W. Bush in 2004. The alleged joke was made during a Democratic fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall in New York. The Guardian reported at the time that the comedian was alleged to have said, "We should keep Bush where he belongs," while gesturing at her genitals, "and not in the White House."

After the alleged incident, the comedian couldn't get work for five years. She was also dropped from sponsorship deals.

Variety reports that despite how it appeared, when asked by Jackie if she considered herself as having been canceled at the time, Whoopi answered, "No. I would describe that situation as a lot of people covering their backsides because the joke was never about him. But no one ever stood up and said, ‘Hey, here’s what actually happened.’ 

She continued, "And they put it in the newspaper. And you notice, they’d never seen what I exactly said, or what I said at all. But all somebody has to do is say you said it. I feel like the truth doesn’t seem to matter as much these days."

The host of the View then chose to directly address the much-discussed concept of 'cancel culture.' "Because there is cancel culture, people will call or text and say ‘I’m not buying your product," she explained. "This is who you have talking about your product, me and my five million followers—if you keep her—we’re not going to buy your car, or we’re not going to buy your shampoo or we’re not going to buy your toothbrush or we’re not going to buy your Pampers."

Whoopi Goldberg discusses her career

(Image credit: Lou Rocco / Contributor/ Getty Images)

Discussing her savior from it all, after half a decade without any gigs, Whoopi said, "Lucky for me, Barbara Walters offered me a job and said, 'Hey, would you like to do this?’ And I was like, 'You know, I’m not in favor in the general public.' She said, 'You’ll be perfect.'"

Whoopi has been a host on The View ever since and its her sense of humour, passion and no-nonsense attitude which has made her such a hit on the show.

Aoife Hanna


Aoife is Junior News Editor at woman&home.

She's an Irish journalist and writer with over 1500 bylines and a background in creative writing, comedy and TV production.

Formerly Aoife was a contributing writer at Bustle and her words can be found in the Metro, Huffpost, Delicious, Imperica, EVOKE and her poetry features in the soon-to-be-published Queer Life, Queer Love anthology.

Outside of work you might bump into her at a garden center, charity shop, hot yoga studio, lifting heavy weights or (most likely) supping/eating some sort of delicious drink/meal.