Whoopi Goldberg and Donald Trump Jr. found themselves embroiled in a heated exchange on Thursday’s episode of The View after President Donald Trump‘s oldest son brought up comments Goldberg made about director Roman Polanski.
It all transpired after co-host Joy Behar questioned the president’s character and spoke on his preference for personal, even vulgar, attacks on his critics.
Don Jr., 41, immediately became defensive saying, “We’ve all done things we regret.”
He then attempted to flip the interview on Goldberg, 63, and Behar, 77, by bringing up a time where Behar wore “blackface” and another instance in which Goldberg “defended” Polanski.
“I mean if we’re talking about bringing the discourse down, Joy you’ve worn blackface — Whoopi you’ve said Roman Polanski… it wasn’t rape-rape when he raped a child,” Don Jr. said.
“No, I have not!” Behar yelled out as Don Jr. continued to talk over her. “I did not wear blackface please!”
“No, she was not in blackface. Being black I recognize blackface — this I can say,” Goldberg said in Behar’s defense.
(In 2016, Behar said on the show that in her 20s she had dressed for Halloween as a “beautiful African woman,” wearing her natural hair and makeup “that was a little bit darker than my skin.”)
“Now that you’ve broken this piece of ice because I guess this is the fight you wanted,” Goldberg continued on Thursday’s show, adding, “Are you questioning my character?”
“I’m not questioning your character, you’re questioning my father’s character,” Don Jr. said.
“I simply said that when talking about your father has taken more heat than anybody else that is not so,” Goldberg said.
“As a president?” Don Jr. asked. “Who else?”
At another point, according to The Hollywood Reporter, who was in attendance for the taping, Goldberg spoke with an audience member who took issue with comments Goldberg made about Polanski. (A source tells PEOPLE the woman in the audience was brought in by Don Jr.)
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” the woman told Goldberg, per THR.
“Then be quiet and listen to me,” Goldberg said back. (“I definitely riled her up,” the woman said later as she left the taping.)
In 2009, while on The View, Goldberg was trying to clarify her co-hosts’ discussion about the exact accusations against Polanski.
“I know it wasn’t rape-rape. I think it was something else, but I don’t believe it was rape-rape,” she said on the segment — but she later corrected herself on the show as someone backstage provided more information via her earpiece. “Initially he was charged with rape and then he pled guilty to having sex with a minor,” she said.
In that episode, she also suggested that the attitude toward teenagers having sex was different years ago, even if she did not agree with how it used to be.
In a deal with prosecutors, Polanski pleaded guilty in the ’70s to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor after being charged with drugging and raping a teenage girl.
The source tells PEOPLE that during her exchange with the audience member on Thursday, Goldberg read a portion of her original exchange from 2009. She felt it was important to speak to the audience member “to give context … to give that clarity and help it not just be a bomb thrown, as it were,” the source says.
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The audience was reportedly vocal throughout the interview, which saw the panel grill Don Jr. on the impeachment investigation against his dad, his feelings about Joe and Hunter Biden, his own social media behavior and his thoughts on the 2020 presidential election.
In addition to the regular boos, there were cheers and clapping in support of Don Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle, who was accompanied by some 15 people in the audience, according to the source.
According to THR, when the interview was ending, a man said, “Praise the lord!”
Earlier, when Don Jr. defended some of his behavior because he said he was a “private citizen,” a woman said, “You’re not a private citizen!”
In a more somber moment during the episode, co-host Meghan McCain, whose father has been regularly attacked by President Trump even after he died last year, asked Don Jr., “You and your family have hurt a lot of people, and put a lot of people through a lot of pain …. Does all of this make you feel good?”
“I don’t think any of that makes me feel good, but I do think that we got into this because we wanted to do what’s right for America. My father has been working tirelessly to bring back the American dream, who’ve watched politicians with no business experience send that American dream abroad to countries that hate our guts. He’s brought jobs back, he’s created unprecedented levels of unemployment numbers for African-Americans, for Hispanic Americans— “