Whoopi Goldberg: Dog Fighting Part Of Vick’s Cultural Upbringing

Whoopi GoldbergWhoopi Goldberg started on ABC’s “The View” as a co-host on Tuesday. And she may have already stirred up some controversy on the show.

15 minutes into her first show, Goldberg brought up Michael Vick and his dog fighting charges.

“You know from his background this is not an unusual thing for where he comes from. There are certain things that are indicative to certain parts of our country,” said Goldberg.

Co-host Joy Behar looked horrified as Goldberg spoke. Behar asked about dog torture and dog murdering.

Goldberg said unfortunately, that is part of it also. She added that dogs are sport for a lot of people. She said it seemed to take Vick some time to realize that the charges he faced were serious.

“It seemed like a light went off in his head when he realized that this was something the entire country really didn’t appreciate, didn’t like,” Goldberg said.

She said because Vick was raised in the South, it is “part of his cultural upbringing.” She compared it to cockfighting in Puerto Rico, and how it is part of the country there. She stated that Vick comes from a culture where dog fighting is not questioned.

Goldberg added if somebody from New York City was involved in dog fighting, she would feel differently about it.

Co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck said she was encouraged by the NFL suspending Vick indefinitely.

Source: WSBTV.com

Photo: ABC

(Thanks Stan)

49 Responses to “Whoopi Goldberg: Dog Fighting Part Of Vick’s Cultural Upbringing”

  1. Kevin says:

    He knew it was wrong and knew that it was a federal crime to participate in the events. Even his dad told him that.

    His culture is no excuse for what he did. Ignorance of the law is no excuse either. The man knew what he was doing, got caught and will pay the price!

  2. Bridgett says:

    Dang, I think Whoopi, MV and his friends have stumbled upon a get out of jail free card. If you claim anything is a part of your culture, that means it should be acceptable right? So say I wanted to stop paying my taxes, and I killed the IRS agent who came to collect. All I would have to say my actions were part of my culture and everyone would just have to deal.

    Wow! Wish I have thought of this!

    (sorry, this case is just blowing my mind. Cynicism is keeping me from hurting someone!)

  3. Shannon says:

    Whoopi’s got it all wrong. Vick knew from the start that what he was doing was serious. Otherwise he wouldn’t have lied about it, would he??

    Whoopi should take her head out of the sand and stop defending Vick.

  4. Bridgett says:

    Whoopi is better than Rosie how????

  5. cardinarky says:

    After living 50% of my 60 years in the South (AL, TX, AR) I know for a fact that Goldberg is correct regarding the culture differences. What she does not state or seem to comprehend is that a lot of the people raised in the South still see segregation as a daily way of life. There is a significant segment that still wants to fight the Civil War over again.
    Just because Vick was raised this way does not give his behaviour our majority approval.
    If that is the case well the door now opens to other beliefs.
    If Goldberg sees dog fighting as acceptable, based on the geography of personal development, well then we open the door to a lot of things that a civilized society is supposed to be above or have removed from the menu now don’t we?

  6. Anonymous says:

    I used to like Whoopi. Not anymore!!!!

  7. Sindy says:

    What a sick way to get viewers to watch. Whoopsie is a smart woman but this is just stupid. I hope she doesn’t have any pets.
    I can’t stand the View anyways because those women talk all at once and you can’t understand any of them. Gives me a headache and I reach for the mute button but now it’s the channel change button. No View for me.

  8. menusux says:

    There are no “ifs” about it–it’s wrong wherever it’s being done. Re: cultural differences–it was once acceptable in Hawaii to throw living maidens into volcanoes to appease the fire god when there were eruptions. It’s surely not being done there now and hasn’t been for a long time. Having the practice stop hasn’t damaged Hawaiian culture at all.

  9. Sindy says:

    It seems like this show can only deal with controversy and not quality content to keep it going. Wonder who Whoopsie will pick on next once she enters the real world?

  10. Kevin says:

    I’m waiting to hear the statement, “Is it because I’m black?”

  11. kaefamily says:

    I did not see the aforementioned segment of The View, however, based on this article I think Whoopi was merely stating the fact that in SOME cultures (sub-cultures to be precise in this instance) dog fighting was a part of that particular social group. I grew up in a nation whereas cockfighting is culturally acceptable of which I, personally, abhor hence have always denounced. I don’t think Whoopi was defending Vicks, or did she unambiguously said that dog fighting was all right by her, or that it should be welcomed by all of the people of this nation, or those who are unknowing/knowingly committing the ‘crime’ should be exonerated. Or may be she did indubitably express that. If anyone here knows with utmost certainty I am all ears/eyes. I am not about to defend Whoopi if she or anyone thinks Vicks or anyone else who brutalizes a living breathing being.

    This great country is comprised of several culturally diverse ethnicities whose few customs are considered a crime here, i.e. spousal ‘discipline’, children as unpaid domestic servants, female genital mutilation, to name a few. Is any of these traditions justifiable in the eyes of the law of this nation? I hope not!

    Just my 3 cents :-)

  12. dotcom says:

    It wasn’t so long ago that slavery was culturally acceptable to some people in the south. Does that mean we should have looked the other way and let the practice continue? There wasn’t an acceptable level of participation in slavery and there isn’t an acceptable level of participation in dogfighting. Culturally acceptable behaviors cannot be forgiven if they are just plain wrong.

  13. DW says:

    I will never again hold Whoopie Goldberg in high esteem. What she said is like saying that because an extended family has experienced generations of child abuse then it’s okay to look the other way because it’s part of their social heritage.

    There is something mentally, emotionally, and morally wrong with a human being who prefers to torture an animal to death rather than give it a quick and humane end.

    When is someone going to say the obvious …that any person raised in the US in this day who gets off on fighting dogs is a person with serious psychiatric issues. (In the old days we’d call them evil but the press rarely uses the E word anymore.) In even older times, of course, this wouldn’t be a societal issue at all because it would be acceptable within the viewpoints of the age.

    *sigh* We can go on about other times, other cultures and how his headspace is obviously living in one of those ‘other cultures’ ….which gets right back to him showing signs of pyschiatric disorder in that he never integrated with the current common reality, but instead chose to live in one where cruelty is fun.

    So if I factor in societal differences … I’m still left with a couple of things.

    1. Dog fighting is illegal and Vick had so very much to lose that you’d think he’d steer clear of it. (Again, hints of some sort of emotional or psychological shortcomings in that he can’t make good choices.)

    2. In this larger society in which we all live at least part of our lives, in this time, cruelty of the sort he engaged in is aberrant and he knew this for he hid his activities.

    I don’t like to see mental illness used as a method of shaming people and I certainly don’t want it used as an excuse, but I really think a public (media level) discussion of aberrant behavior needs to be brought in.

    There is something fundamentally wrong with him as a human being. The sooner that truth gets spoken, the sooner the gadflies will stop clustering around him. Normal athletes who are out of control might abuse drugs, drink too much, sleep around too much, thow money around. Killing animals, abusing women (as other problem atheletes have done)… that’s beyond normal.

    These violent, anti-social people should be publically shunned to prevent other young kids from thinking that behavior is in any way acceptable or excuseable. Yes, they need treatment of some sort, but punishment should not be ruled out just because they can grab onto some tactic that make their horrendous behavior seem almost reasonable.

    We should not let our own decency and compassion make us weak to the point we make excuses for their atrocities. Bad people should not be rewarded nor their crimes forgotten.

    Shame on you Whoopie for excusing an atrocity instead facing the fact that it takes one very scary human being who not only likes blood sports but thinks torturing an injured creature to death is an acceptable way to dispose of the animal who gave its life for his bloody whims.

  14. pissed off says:

    When I heard her defend M.Vick today I almost fell off the dam sofa.This is sick. whoopi should watch HBO REAL SPORTS on dog fighting. it was so sad. I don”t give a flying fig what color you are if your from the north. east west or south DOG FIGHTING IS WRONG TO KILL A DOG THEY WAY VICK KILLED THEM POOR DOGS IS HEARTLESS. WHOOPIE SHAME ON YOU!!!!!!

  15. Baaboo says:

    Never liked her anyway, now I know why !!!

  16. straybaby says:

    did whoopie ever say she agreed with it? thought it was ok? or was she just offering a perspective?

    just remembering a lesson i learned early on from my mom about different upbringings and remembering how she phrased it . . . taken out of context, you just might have thought she supported those views. or in context, not really hearing what was being said. i missed the whoopie as i was on ellen, but i would be curious to see the whole conversation.

  17. Tammy says:

    I did not like her before and now I really don’t like her now. I’m surprised she didn’t use the old phrase “It’s because we are black. I don’t care what culture your from God did not create animals to be tortured. Yes they might have to be killed for food but not to be purposely tortured and made to suffer. He should be treated the same way and see how it feels. Animals have feelings just as much as anyone else and if you do not believe it you are stupid!!

  18. Amanda says:

    For those who didn’t see the part where Whoopi spouted her opinion and would like to view it, here is a link to a news article on it with a link to the left for the video.


  19. Katie says:

    Used to like some of her movies. Won’t go to them now. I will never understand why the culture card is always played for defending someone. It’s not like MV is living as a poor man in the ghetto. When he became a “superstar” , he is no longer some poor kid in the ghetto. He’s not stupid. There is a moral code to be followed and upheld. He is sick. Anyone who gets their thrills and enjoyment out of watching dogs kill one another and than on top of it executes them for not wining. That is sick. Whoppi, you can’t be that dumb that you don’t understand right from wrong.


  20. Jeri says:

    As someone who was born and has lived their entire lives in the deep South, I am appalled that anyone would accept that this is so. Yes, we have our cultural differences, but I come from a very long line of southern animal-lovers and the garbage about it being part of the culture is nonsense. We love our animals in this part of the country, too! But just like every other part of this country, there are human beings who just aren’t worth anything. I wouldn’t insult people from any specific part of the country by saying “It’s just part of their culture”.

  21. Lorri says:

    oh please. Another liberal mouthpiece defending inexcusable behavior.

    my parents beat me when I was growing up, doesn’t mean I ever beat my children.

    I am SO tired of pathetic excuses for people’s behavior.

  22. Velvet's Dad says:

    I did not see the show, nor would I, but based on the quote, it appears she was offering extenuating circumstances based on culture. For she said that she would feel “differently” if Vick had been raised in NYC, for example.

    To Whoopi, I would say this: In much of the South, lynching of blacks by whites was not only considered acceptable, it was downright entertainment for many parents who actually brought their children to watch and witness. Lynching was so pervasive and acceptable that for decades Congress was unable to pass federal anti-lynching laws due to the use of the filibuster by white Southern senators. Should that excuse those whites who either participated directly or who stood by doing nothing?

    Or, should we excuse the abuse of women by some men because they were raised by fathers who abused their wives?

    At some point, each of us must look within ourselves to find the compassion that makes us human. At some point, each must step outside our narrow circle of sub-culture and see that we are all part of one Earth. At some point, we must learn that adulthood has little to do with age and everything to do with accepting responsibility for our actions. Not to blame our parents, nor our sub-culture for our flaws. At some point, to learn there is contentment in understanding our greatest gift is the power of reason and the freedom and moral responsiblity to use that power in ways that are beneficial to life and not destructive. And finally, to see that all life is worth caring for and nurturing.

    “See how a person treats an animal,” a wise man once said to me, “and you will see the measure of that person.”

  23. Stefani says:

    My mothers family is southern, and they never fought dogs AT ALL, much less to the death.

    Whoopi is merely keeping with the general trend of prominent African Americans who have come forward to make excuses for Michael Vick specifically, and dog fighting in general. It’s really a cultural wake up call which I have found personally very shocking and disturbing and disappointing. But there is no denying that is what has been happening.


  24. trucorgi says:

    I saw the show. Newport News Virginia is hardly “the deep south” and his father, according to a recent interview objected to it. He was NOT brought up in a culture of dog fighting. It was something Vick perused. Seems like Whoopi was looking for an excuse for his behavior.

  25. Margaret says:

    I guess a culture of violence, animal abuse, murder and criminal behavior is defensible to Whoopi?

    After hearing that she excused and defended this “barbaric” (Sen Byrd) violence, I can only surmise that she is an ignorant, uninformed and uneducated woman who chooses to not learn the facts.

    Had she checked with an animal-rights organization she would have found that this is NOT accepted by any particular race, ethnicity or regional area in America and that American values do NOT accept this!!!

    Oh yes, and it is illegal all 50 states, you know if the moral thing doesn’t bother her.

    Good work there Ms. Moderator first day on the job. Great Job there The View in choosing your moderator.

  26. Lynn says:

    I DID catch the first few minutes of the show. I can see how some people might have understood that she was defending Vick, however at no time did she declare allegiance to him. She seemed to merely be trying to present another viewpoint. Still, at no time did she make any statement to the effect that what he did was reprehensible. Therefore, one could argue that she supported him.

    I went a-surfing to see if I could find info on southern cultures, etc. Surveys were mixed, with some claiming it was a “culture” thing, and other southerners claiming they had lived in the south all their lives and had never heard of dog fighting. This leads me to wonder if those parents who cared about values made sure their kids were not exposed to this horrific form of “entertainment.”

  27. Lynn says:

    Regarding the sociology of dog fighting:



    Regarding one southerner’s views on dogfighting [in the context of it being a “cultural” thing]:


  28. pissed off really bad now says:

    I live in the DEEP SOUTH she is so off the charts with her stupid commets. we are really pissed off in the DEEP SOUTH with what he did .it’s not a cultural thing in the south to kill dogs.MY GOD WHAT THE HELL IS THIS WORLD COMING TOO!!!!THIS IS A INSULT TO EVERYONE WHO LIVES IN THE SOUTH.

  29. Gerry says:

    I cant help but wonder how this would be playing out if one of the other women on the view had said what whoopi did. It would be bad enough if a white person blamed vicks dog fighting on his culture or race, but for whoopi being african american and blameing vicks actions on his race and culture is just awful. Treating animals in such a way as vick did is not a race issue..or at least it shouldnt be. Whoopi saying what she did to me was the altimate insult to her own culture or race. And everyone thought rosie was bad….

  30. janet says:

    slavery was a part of the culture in the South in 1860 so, Whoopi, was it Ok then to own and whip slaves because it was part of the culture?

  31. Debra says:

    Well, I am done with her.

  32. NH says:

    Me thinks Whoopie Pie’s dreadlocks are too tight!

  33. Gindy says:

    Virginia is NOT the deep south, she needs to bone up on her Civil War geography. Stupid git.
    Race, culture, ethnic heritage and lack of education are NO excuse for treating those less able to protect them selves in a harsh and cruel manner.
    If child marriage were part of his “culture” would she excuse him marrying a 14 year old? (Think Utah and polygamists and how easily those abusers have gotten off in times past, no pun intended).
    She makes me sick. That show has gone from bad to pathetic in one episode.

  34. Jeanie says:

    I don’t think Whoopi meant to make his actions justifiable. I think she was just trying to present a different angle. Our sensibilities are affected by the environment we grew up in. I don’t doubt Michael Vick knew he was committing a crime, but I think in his mind it wasn’t that bad. For example, doing drugs in the US is illegal, but I know A LOT of people who do coke and marijuana on occasion and don’t think twice about it. They don’t think it’s that wrong. I think Vick gets it now. Give Whoopi a break!

  35. Barb says:

    I just happened to switch the channel right as this subject came up on the View yesterday. I knew Whoppie’s comments were going to start a rage, mostly because people read into things, but IMO she was just making an observation. She wasn’t defending his actions at all, just brought up the fact that dog fighting is a ‘culture’ thing in the South, and she didn’t say that it was right, just that it was a fact.

  36. Lynn says:

    As suspected, today Goldberg clarified that she was only presenting a POV that some people might have regarding how Vick came to be involved with dog fighting. She does not condone it at all, nor does she feel this POV is an excuse. It is simply a thought as to how a particular frame of reference in early years can influence what an adult does and how he perceives animals.

  37. Stefani says:

    There is a huge difference between doing drugs and forcing two dogs to rip each other to death. No comparison.

    And no upbringing is an excuse for NOT KNOWING forcing two dogs to fight to the death, and/or beating or eloctrocuting the losing dog, is wrong. If you don’t KNOW that is wrong, you are missing something, I don’t care what your culture is.

    As for Whoopi, I will take her at her word that she did not mean to make excuses for him. Just remember: There is a fine line from explanation to rationalization to excuse. It often gets blurred.


  38. Sylvia says:

    Using “Whoopi logic” I guess it’s ok for anyone who grows up in a gang-infested area to go around shooting people because that’s just part of their regional culture, or child abuse because, well, that’s just how it is in the deep South (or where ever). Whoopi is a talented entertainer but her personal views/beliefs are disgusting. What Michael Vick participated in using dogs is a dog holocaust - still defending it Whoopi? You should be ashamed

  39. Kristy says:

    Guys, before you lash out at Whoopie, make sure you see the WHOLE video and not just snippets that are floating around (it was on ABC’s View website yesterday.) While I don’t care for her ignorance about “the South” (I live in GA darling, and I’ve never even been approached about animal fighting,) I think she was trying to intellectually discuss how HE may not have thought he was doing anything wrong. She certainly didn’t condone his behaviour.

    I still don’t her like implying that this is a “deep south” culture issue (she says she would feel different towards him if he was from NY.) My impression was that she isn’t defending Vick, but that she thinks that it never occurred to him (because of his culture) that it was a bad thing to do. That it was how he was raised and he never knew different. BS I say, because in order to knowingly be deceptive about something means you know that it is wrong. At least to some degree.

    Personally, I think she is trying to over-psychoanalyze the issue as it pertains to Vick. And unfortunately, it will probably harm her as people will hear news stories or see clips without seeing the whole discussion. This is not like he is some back woods southern boy that has never been around anything different. If that was the case, he wouldn’t have gone through so much to try and hide it for so long. Let’s remember, even though he went to Virginia Tech to play football, the fact remains that he was in college where I am sure he was exposed to more than some “poor dumb southern culture.” (Can you tell that it still pisses me off that she implied that?)

    Anyhow, I think Whoopie was trying to discuss “how could this happen” and assign a reason. Human nature tends to make us want to explain things. DO I think she is wrong in her theory? ABSOLUTELY. But I don’t fault her for trying to make sense of it.

  40. toni says:

    Right is right and wrong is wrong. It doesn’t matter where you live. If Ms Goldberg wants to quantify her statement, she should do it SOON. Personally, I have always thought she was an OK performer but I could have cared less about her opinions. She CHOSE to interject herself into a discussion about dogfighting and MV’s rationale for his behavior. Not exactly a smart career move. I hope she remembers who opened up that door.

  41. nora says:

    SICK VIC. SICK VIC. SICK VIC! YES. that statement by Whoopi was an INSULT to anyone who lives in the south and is an animal lover OR just plain sensible and just. Whoopi, I always enjoyed you very much in the past, but now all you are associated with will be TAINTED. HORRIFICALLY KILLING and TORTURING dogs and bait animals IS NOT SPORT. It is murderous BLOOD LUST.

  42. deanwithana says:

    Well, Whoopi really needs to sit back, think about her comments and think good………MV’s father even came forward to say that he warned MV that “he should not be messing with those dogs”……also, MV lied when he was caught…..so he very well knew that this was wrong. Also, I don’t care where you are from in the USA…..we all know that drowning or hanging any of gods creature’s is completely and totally unacceptable……

    So at this point, it is because he is from the south…….next it will be because he is black………please spare me…….regardless of south, north, east, west……black or white………right is right and wrong is wrong……..down with Whoopi and MV!!!!!

  43. JLLH358 says:

    I have seen animal rescue shows on Animal Planet where pit bulls were rescued from dog fighting rings in - MICHIGAN - not the deep south. Yet, I would NEVER insinuate that this is part of the culture of the north or that people in Michigan see nothing wrong with dog fighting. Sorry, but that is just an ignorant stance to make about ANY region! As a Southerner, I find it offensive that some here are actually buying this trash. IT’S NOT PART OF OUR CULTURE!!! People in the South love their animals too - as I’m sure many in Michigan do as well. There are abusers and animal lovers in every region. None has a monopoly.

  44. Lynn says:

    It’s true, dogfighting occurs all over the country. Not limited to the south. However, check this out.

    Hog dog fights are not new; they’ve likely been around for more than 25 years. The HSUS believes that hog dog fights regularly occur in at least ten states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas where feral hogs are a nuisance.


  45. Lynn says:

    Here’s the transcript from the show on Tuesday:


    Incidentally, unless I am totally off base, Vick did not grow up in the south. From what I have read, he lived in Virginia until he was an adult. [Someone correct me if they know otherwise.]

  46. Anonymous says:

    It’s incredible to justify anyone’s actions based on culture or “not knowing any different”. Is it okay to hang nooses from a tree because your culture doesn’t know any different? Is it okay to burn crosses on someone’s lawn because your father, grandfather, great grandfather did it? Is it okay to send a bunch of black students to the back of the bus because this is what was taught from your parents, that blacks are inferior? Is it okay to refer to a black person as a nigger, spear chucker, ape, jiga-boo, porch monkey, or other deep degrading words that still bite and sting when spoken to someone that is black because you don’t know any different and your family used them for hundreds of years? Is it just fine for a well known comedian to get up in front of an audience and say to a group of black people that if it was 50 years ago you niggers would have forks stuck up your asses, just because he was too drunk or “didn’t know any better” because of his cultural upbringing?
    Black people have to remember that just because white people unfairly and terribly unjustified them in the past with unthinkable acts, does not make it right for a black person, just because they are black, to do anything they want to, and the black brotherhood or black sisterhood will fully back them. If anything this rekindles the hate for blacks from whites that has long ago been forgotten, he racial disdain that they lost decades ago. Innocent creatures like dogs have done nothing to harm anyone and how dare someone support something so wrong as dogfighting because their race can do no wrong. Let’s face it, dogfighting is a brutal demonic act that knows no racial borders, whites do it, blacks do it, asians do it, spanish do it, but the focus of it as portrayed in the media is it is a “black” or ghetto and slum thing that blacks do.
    It is made even worse by no black person coming out totally against it. It is most unfortunate that more black people that are mega famous just do not come straight out and condemn dog fighting as evil acts that are wrong no matter whom does it, any race. Black people like Whoppi Goldberg that do not just come out and condemn an act as wrong as simply being wrong, makes her race look like look savages that do not regard the law of the United States as something that ONLY applies to non blacks. There are many millions of black people that are horrified at the acts of torment on any living creatue, and especially man’s best friend, and for the sake of black people they should be more vocal in their views against dog fighting and any form of unfair cruelty to anything.
    It should be noted that pit bull dogs are not only the victims of dog fighting, there are many thousands of black people that have lost their pet dog to the theft of their animal to be used as “bait dogs” that are not even allowed to defend themselves. Black people by not expresing their outrage at a cruel crime are really causing deep problems for their race by making white people that truly think of dogs as family members, as just pieces of something to be used and abused by black people. This of course is not true, with only a small portion of black people engage in dogfighting, but the perception if this is different.
    In the case of this racial thing, most white people do not discriminate against black people, they have stopped this many years ago. Now this dogfighting thing has given whites a reason to take out their frustrations of whatever is going wrong in their lives on blacks because they see blacks as being so unfair by not immediately condemning dog fighting. If you don’t believe this, ask many people how they feel about blacks and dogfighting and Michael Vick, as opposed to a year ago, and you will be guaranteed if no one is around to hear them, many racial slurs will fly.
    For some of these very famous black people to come out and openly condemn dog fighting as an evil thing would so much help get rid of dog fighting, but also help curb this racial tension that is beginning to grow, and help dimish this untrue notion of black people as unfair to anyone and anything that is not black.

  47. JLLH358 says:

    I live in Louisiana and have never heard of the “hog dog” fighting thing. I’d be willing to bet it’s not that common, but of course some in the media will believe ANYTHING about the deep South - that we’re ignorant, racist, and regularly attend and engage in animal fights. SOME MAY, but not all by a long shot!! There are some serious stereotypes that exist about the South and it takes very little “evidence” for some to believe them completely. Most of the Media take one instance and generalize from there.

  48. Shelly says:

    I agree with most of these comments. Vick knew it was wrong and illegal and the fact Whoopi was making excuses for him is inexcusable. Shame on her. I will never watch the View again, they lost me as a viewer.

  49. ann says:

    I grew up in the north, and have spend my adult years in the Hampton Roads area. This is a far cry from the Deep South. With the large number of major military bases, the area is very transient. I have witnessed more racial tolerance and equity since living here, than I ever witnessed up north. I did not see Whoopie Goldberg’s segment, but culteral or not, he still knew it was wrong. What whopie said reminded me of the comment that former sportscaster “Jimmy the Greek” made that got him fired.

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