Whoopi Goldberg says ‘American Idol’ led to “the downfall of society”

"Once we gave people the ability to judge other people, I think we ran amok with it"

Whoopi Goldberg has claimed that American Idol led to “the downfall of society”.

The View presenter got into an awkward exchange with an off-camera producer on Wednesday (May 24) while discussing Netflix‘s new documentary about the final days of Anna Nicole Smith’s life.

After speaking to her co-hosts about the documentary, Goldberg concluded that “people like to be judgy,” before suggesting that American Idol was responsible for that kind of television.


“You have Basketball Wives, you have the Housewives of whatever, all the Bravo shows, giving you the impression that you’re doing something wrong because you’re living your life,” said Goldberg (via Page Six).

“People watch these shows because they make them feel better,” she continued. “I think that we, as a society, love to watch stuff to judge folks.”

Grace Franklin on ‘American Idol’. Credit: ABC.

The Sister Act star then revealed the exact point she believes audiences became too quick to pass judgement.

“You know, I’ve always thought that the beginning of the downfall of society was with, um, what’s the name of that show I always tell you that?” she asked, turning to executive producer Brian Teta.

Goldberg had evidently shared the opinion with Teta before, because the off-camera producer replied: “ABC’s American Idol?”


The studio audience laughed as the producer attempted to remind Goldberg that American Idol airs on the Disney-owned ABC, the same network that pays her salary.

“Well, it wasn’t always on ABC,” Goldberg hit back in defence. “Once we gave people the ability to judge other people, I think we ran amok with it. And it’s gone out of control.”

Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg. CREDIT: Getty Images

Continuing her attack on the singing contest show, the EGOT winner added: “They invited the public to decide who their person was.”

Teta encouraged Goldberg to note that American Idol has “gotten better” and that she “likes it now”, which prompted the presenter to clarify her stance on the show.

“When I was watching it, ABC didn’t have it,” she replied. “We have it now, and it’s a different show. ABC knows I feel like this. I’ve told them. It has nothing to do with them; it’s to do with the show.”

American Idol originally aired on Fox from 2002 to 2016. It returned to screens in 2018 — this time on ABC Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie and Katy Perry on the judging panel.

Back in March, Goldberg issued an apology after unknowingly using a racial slur on The View.

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