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Whoopi Goldberg says she went to jail, then 20 minutes later says she was just kidding

Whoopi Goldberg says she went to jail, then 20 minutes later says she was just kidding

News reports from 1985 indicate Goldberg was previously arrested at a University of California protest.

Whoopi Goldberg revealed to her daytime TV audience on The View that she once went to jail, and waited about 20 minutes to tell them all she was just kidding.

The EGOT-winning actress and View moderator made the supposed admission Wednesday at the Hot Topics table, after show producer Brian Teta spiced things up by making her choose the subject of the show's next discussion from a bag of random talking points that literally dropped in from the ceiling.

Much to Joy Behar's dismay (she eventually called the topic "stupid"), Goldberg read the selection out loud: "Would you rather hike the Appalachian Trail by yourself or spend six months in jail?"

After Sara Haines indulged the idea of spending a night in jail, Alyssa Farah Griffin asked Goldberg what she'd choose.

<p>ABC</p> Whoopi Goldberg on 'The View'

ABC

Whoopi Goldberg on 'The View'

"Well, I've done both," Goldberg said with a straight face, prompting shock from her cohosts. "When were you in jail?" Behar asked, to which Goldberg responded, "I'll tell you about it."

Before the program ended, Goldberg addressed the comment when the show returned from its final commercial break of the day.

"I don't want people freaking out. There are jokes. When you say, 'Yeah, maybe I did the Appalachian Trail and went to jail, don't get it twisted. I'm a humorist, okay?" the 68-year-old said, though she didn't say "maybe" in her initial comment. "Stop looking it up. That's what I know is happening, is that right? People are looking, 'When did she go to jail?' You'll be looking until the cows come home, honey."

Representatives for The View and Goldberg did not immediately reply to EW's request for comment or more information, but previous news reports indicate that an April 30, 1985 protest in Berkeley, Calif., reportedly ended with Goldberg's arrest at the city's University of California campus.

A New York Times syndication of an Associated Press story dated May 1, 1985 reports that Goldberg — who was then on the rise as an actress and comedian — was arrested the day before, while another article from the San Francisco Examiner notes that Goldberg was arrested alongside Berkeley's then-mayor, Gus Newport, and two others for “blocking the entrance to University Hall.” The article later states that they appeared at the Berkeley Municipal Court before being “released after signing a promise to appear June 6 on the charge of blocking a public entrance."

<p>John Barr/Liaison</p> Whoopi Goldberg at the Oscars

John Barr/Liaison

Whoopi Goldberg at the Oscars

The Times piece offers further information on the protests, which were staged across the country in opposition to South Africa's apartheid policies of racial segregation: "Demonstrators protesting South Africa's racial policies were arrested Monday in Atlanta and Berkeley, Calif., among them Berkeley's Mayor and the entertainer Whoopi Goldberg," the article reads. "In Berkeley, 12 protesters, including Mayor Gus Newport and other politicians and Miss Goldberg, were arrested Monday at the University of California for blocking entrances to the headquarters of the university system, according to Lillia Villanueva, a university spokesman."

EW has reached out to Berkeley officials for more information.

At the time of her reported arrest, Goldberg had transitioned her popular one-woman stage act The Spook Show into a self-titled New York City residency that was adapted for HBO under the title Whoopi Goldberg: Direct From Broadway. Later in 1985, Goldberg made her star turn in The Color Purple, Steven Spielberg's adaptation of writer Alice Walker's beloved novel that ultimately earned the star her first Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

The View airs weekdays at 11 a.m. ET on ABC.

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