Whoopi Goldberg defended a joke she made about South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham's sexuality on The View after she was accused of being homophobic.
Last week, Goldberg made a joke about Graham’s sexuality during a conversation with White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who spoke at length about a bill Graham introduced earlier this month that would institute a federal ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Graham had previously said reproductive rights should be left up to state legislatures to decide. His decision to introduce the bill—effectively taking the decision away from the states—prompted Jean-Pierre to wonder "what changed."
To considerable laughter from the audience, Goldberg responded:
“Well, maybe he’s getting married?"
"Do it quick because I know people are fooling around with our marriage rights, wherever you stand.”
You can watch the moment in the video below.
White House Press Sec. Discusses reproductive freedom, Lindsey Graham| The View youtu.be
Afterward, Goldberg clarified her joke about Graham's sexuality “was a joke, nothing more than that."
“I just got a whole conversation about people misunderstanding the joke. I mean, OK."
“I should probably never do this show again, if this is what it’s coming to. It was a joke, guys.”
Graham's sexuality is an open secret in Washington despite numerous attempts over the years to bat away questions about his personal life.
In 2020, The Washington Post published a piece about allegations brought forward by gay porn star and escort Sean Harding, who said he had met with Graham more than once.
Harding said Graham was known as "Lady Graham" and the abbreviated "Lady G" among fellow sex workers, a claim that caused the hashtags #LadyGraham and #LadyG to trend on social media.
Many have come to Goldberg's defense.
\u201cTo say/think that Whoopi is homophobic is asinine as those who feel she needs to apologize to Graham. WTF\ud83d\ude21 He should be on his knees begging for forgiveness for supporting the hijackings of people\u2019s private lives. Bunk that noise.#TheView\u201d— Me (@Me) 1663947456
\u201cI have no idea why she had to scale back on a suggestive subtle joke that half the country has already been speculating about anyway concerning Ms. Graham lol. You're fine Whoopi! @WhoopiGoldberg #TheView\u201d— Angie C. (@Angie C.) 1663861774
\u201cIt\u2019s not a joke. Lindsay Graham is gay and his remaining closeted has caused tremendous pain in this country and will continue to do so.\n\n@WhoopiGoldberg needn\u2019t apologize. This is a dangerous man specially because he\u2019s been compromised so severely.\u201d— Jason Chirevas (@Jason Chirevas) 1663915489
\u201cWhoopi Goldberg addresses 'conversation' over her Lindsey Graham gay joke on The View: 'It was a joke, guys' #NewsBreak. There is NOTHING to be upset about with Whoopi\u2019s joke because \u2066@LindseyGrahamSC\u2069 will NEVER come out one way or another. https://t.co/zhj34OOc3W\u201d— Patricia Padron \u262e\ufe0f\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\uddf2\ud83c\uddfd\ud83c\uddf5\ud83c\uddf9 (@Patricia Padron \u262e\ufe0f\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\uddf2\ud83c\uddfd\ud83c\uddf5\ud83c\uddf9) 1663934484
\u201cWhoopi with the Lindsey Graham shade!!! \ud83d\udc4f\ud83c\udffe\ud83d\udc4f\ud83c\udffe\ud83d\udc4f\ud83c\udffe "Well maybe he's getting married" CHECK MATE \ud83e\udd23 #TheView\u201d— Angie C. (@Angie C.) 1663860813
\u201cWhoopi Goldberg cracked a joke about Lindsey Graham being gay.\nGuess what! It's no joke!\nYou go girl!\u201d— Arnold Swen (@Arnold Swen) 1664077969
\u201cWhoopi should not have to apologize for that Graham joke/comment, especially after the juvenile asinine behavior of Meghan McCain\n#TheView\u201d— Neptunemermaid (@Neptunemermaid) 1663864364
\u201cWhoopie did not say Ms. Lindsay is gay. \nShe said "maybe he's getting married."\nThe way he acts makes people assume he's gay.\nThe producer should apologize to her.\n\n'The View': Whoopi Goldberg Made To Apologize For Lindsey Graham Gay Joke...' https://t.co/c5wGM4NHeK\u201d— Mike Mercury (@Mike Mercury) 1663883284
\u201cHello Americans. Whoopi Goldberg's comment or joke on little Lindsey Graham is right on. Lindsey Graham has been preaching "family values" & yet not living or practicing family values as in getting married and raising children with a wife. He is a hypocrit.\u201d— Enterafrica@aol.com (@Enterafrica@aol.com) 1664111101
Graham has never been married and has no children.
A Southern Baptist, he is a member of the Corinth Baptist Church and has for years supported efforts to roll back LGBTQ+ rights.
These efforts received more notice after Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said the Court should reconsider established gay rights and contraception rights now that SCOTUS revoked the constitutional right to an abortion per the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade.