ESPN host Stephen A. Smith drew backlash from critics for statements he made about domestic violence — but outspoken industry colleague Whoopi Goldberg is in his corner.
The View co-host came to Smith’s defense Monday after he apologized for comments he made last week on domestic abuse. Smith implied that women played a role in provoking men to assault them.
He later issued an apology Monday, claiming it was the “most egregious error” of his career.
While many found fault with Smith’s comments and labeled them insensitive, Goldberg shared similar views on the issue, saying if someone hits somebody, regardless of gender, that person has a right to hit back.
“If you hit somebody, you cannot be sure you are not going to get hit back!” Goldberg said. “You have to teach women, do not put your hands on anybody. You have to teach women, do not live with this idea that men have this chivalry thing still with them, don’t assume that that’s still in place.”
Guest co-host Sunny Hostin criticized Goldberg by saying she was blaming the victim, but Goldberg didn’t back down.
“If you make the choice as a woman who’s four foot three and you decide to hit a guy who’s six feet tall and you’re the last thing he wants to deal with that day and he hits you back, you cannot be surprised!” Goldberg said.
This isn’t the first time Goldberg has shared her views on domestic violence — she made similar statements when a video leaked of Solange hitting Jay Z in an elevator following the Met Gala in May.
Smith’s original comments were in reference to Baltimore Ravens Ray Rice and his two-game suspension for allegedly assaulting his wife.
In an episode that aired Friday, the First Take cohost discussed domestic abuse and sent a message to female viewers:
It’s not about him, then. It’s about you, and here’s what I mean by that… I think that just talking about what guys shouldn’t do, we got to also make sure that you can do your part to do whatever you can do to make, to try to make sure it doesn’t happen.
Smith issued an apology Monday and further clarified his statements, saying:
My words came across it is somehow a woman’s fault. This is not my intent. It was not what I was trying to say. Yet the failure to clearly articulate something different lies squarely on my shoulders. To say what I said was foolish is an understatement. To say I was wrong is obvious. To apologize, to say I’m sorry, doesn’t do the proper justice. But I do sincerely apologize.
Grio fam, what are your thoughts? Are you siding with Whoopi on this, or is she in the wrong? Watch the clip here.
Follow Lilly Workneh on Twitter @Lilly_Works.