Whoopi Goldberg Puts Public Pressure on Emmett Till’s Accuser to ‘Admit What She Did’

OPINION | This article contains the author's opinion.

Whoopi Goldberg, co-host of the “View,” wants Carolyn Bryant Donham to admit to what she did to 14-year-old Emmet Till.

Whoopi said, “I don’t want her in jail, but I want her in front of a judge and jury.”

“I want her to admit what she did and what part she had,” Whoopi added. “And then, you know, for me, that would be perfect, instead of still trying to hide what she did away.”

Sixty years ago, when Carolyn Bryant Donham was 21 years old, she said Emmet Till whistled at her in a Mississippi grocery store.

A Mississippi grand jury did not indict Donham and she was never charged or arrested.

Donham’s now-deceased husband, Roy Bryant, and brother-in-law, J.W.Bryant, were both charged with Till’s murder.

Both Bryant and Bryant were acquitted.

Donham said, “I did not wish Emmett any harm and could not stop harm from coming to him since I didn’t know what was planned for him. I tried to protect him by telling Roy that ‘He’s not the one. That’s not him. Please take him home.'”

“I have always prayed that God would bless Emmett’s family. I am truly sorry for the pain his family was caused,” Donham continued.

Donham also said she “always felt like a victim as well as Emmett” and “paid dearly with an altered life.”

Donham referring to a group of activists, said, “They think she should die or go to jail forever. They think what happened to Emmett Till should happen to her.”

Whoopi was glad they got to make the movie. “I would like to be more positive, but I think George Floyd had a lot to do with why this got made,” Whoopi said.

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For her part, Goldberg is one of the producers of the new MGM movie, “Till” which focuses largely on the boy’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, and her struggle for justice in the aftermath of her son’s murder. Goldberg, who also stars in the film, spoke to an audience at the aforementioned film festival after the screening of “Till,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.

“Now you know what institutionalized racism looks like and you can connect it to your own life,” Goldberg told the crowd. “Maybe you’re a gay person. Maybe you’re a woman. Maybe you’re an Asian person. You all understand this hatred because it’s coming closer and closer. What we see on that screen is the culmination of what systematic racism looks like. It goes out in ripples and it touches everybody. And the whole point of all of this is we’ve seen it, we know. We saw George Floyd; we saw Trayvon Martin: children and young men, middle-aged men, men, people. This is your way of saying, I don’t like what I see up there and doing something about it.”

“People thought we should do some stories about black people, after all that went on over the last couple of years,” Goldberg said. “I always say, we got popular. We got back in vogue and people started saying maybe we should be doing more, we should be telling these stories and we got in through that and [MGM’s] Orion [division] said, ‘We should do this.’” Yes, thank you. Because we’ve been trying forever, just forever, to get it done. And people say, ‘No, it’s an important story and we really feel for it.’ And it’s like, ‘So you’re not going to give us any money for this?’”

“We were supposed to go to Venice and they then decided that it wasn’t the kind of film for their viewers,” Goldberg said. “And then it was, either Toronto or one of the film festivals in Canada, we were going to go there and that didn’t quite work for them either.”

Goldberg said she and other producers had been trying to get the film made for more than a decade, and they finally received sufficient financial backing after the death of career criminal George Floyd and the ensuing lawlessness and violence that wracked cities across the U.S. as a result.