Whoopi Goldberg Says ‘American Idol’ Started ‘The Downfall of Society’

Whoopi Goldberg on The View
ABC/Jenny Anderson

Is American Idol the cause of all of our problems? Well, Whoopi Goldberg certainly thinks it had a big part to play in” the downfall of society.”

The topic came up during The View on Wednesday, May 24, when Goldberg and her co-hosts were discussing Netflix’s new Anna Nicole Smith documentary. The EGOT winner said that viewers continue to watch this kind of programming because “people like to be judgy.”

“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,” she said, per the New York Post. “People watch these shows because they make them feel better… I think that we, as a society, love to watch stuff to judge folks.”

Goldberg then offered her theory as to when this all began. “You know, I’ve always thought that the beginning of the downfall of society was with, um, what’s the name of that show?” she asked, turning to executive producer Brian Teta, with whom she had seemingly talked about this before. “I always tell you that.”

“ABC’s American Idol?” Teta replied, playfully reminding Goldberg that the competition series now airs on the same network as The View, having been canceled at Fox in 2016 after 15 seasons.

“Well, it wasn’t always on ABC,” Goldberg laughed before explaining her theory. “Once we gave people the ability to judge other people, I think we ran amuck with it. And it’s gone out of control.”

“They invited the public to decide who their person was,” she continued. “And I feel once we did that, it began us in a cycle which we have not — did you really just do that?”

While Goldberg might blame Idol for making society more judgmental, she herself has appeared as a guest judge on another reality competition series, having featured in two episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2020.

American Idol recently wrapped up its 21st season, with Hawaii native Iam Tongi being crowned the winner.

The View, Weekdays, 11 am/10 c, ABC