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Whoopi Goldberg defends Harrison Butker over “degenerate cultural values” speech

Whoopi Goldberg on the January 9, 2024, episode of The View.
Whoopi Goldberg on the January 9, 2024, episode of The View. Photo: Screenshot / ABC

While a controversial commencement address given by Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker continues to draw criticism from his targets and their allies, the three-time Super Bowl champion picked up support from one surprising source on Thursday: The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg.

Last weekend, Butker insulted the LGBTQ+ community, working women, and his own church’s leadership in the speech at Catholic Benedictine College in Kansas, as he called for a return to religious patriarchy that rejects gay Pride and demands women “accept your lane and stay in it.”

“Degenerate cultural values,” “the tyranny of diversity, equity, and inclusion,” and “dangerous gender ideologies” were among the topics of Butker’s Christian nationalist screed.

While the address earned condemnation from Chiefs fans and foes alike — a petition to drop Butker from his team earned over 168,000 signatures — the 28-year-old Georgia native got a pass from the longtime morning show panelist.

“Listen, I like when people say what they need to say. He’s at a Catholic college, he’s a staunch Catholic, these are his beliefs, and he’s welcome to them,” Goldberg said on the program yesterday. “We wanna give respect to people whose ideas are different from ours.”

She continued, “I’m OK with him saying whatever he says, and the women who were sitting there, if they take his advice, good for them, they’ll be happy. If they don’t, good for them, they’ll be happy in a different way. That’s my attitude.”

Goldberg, who calls herself a staunch free speech advocate, said, “I have the right to say what I say. He has the right to say what he says. When you say to somebody, ‘I don’t like what you said, and so I’m gonna get your job taken away, because you disagree with me,’ for me, that is an issue.”

The Ghost star compared her own experience on The View panel to the backlash Butker received.

“It happens to us all the time! That is why I am standing up for him… But I have to say, just like I have my opinions, we have our opinions.”

Butker’s retrograde sermonizing was a setback for the NFL, which has been trying to promote a more equitable public image.

The NFL’s Chief Diversity Officer, Jonathan Beane, made the organization’s displeasure with Butker clear in a statement to Outsports.

“Harrison Butker gave a speech in his personal capacity,” Beane said in a written statement. “His views are not those of the NFL as an organization. The NFL is steadfast in our commitment to inclusion, which only makes our league stronger.”

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