Whoopi Goldberg FURIOUSLY defends Barack Obama’s filmmaker daughter Malia – after former First Daughter faced backlash for using a stage name at her Sundance debut in attempt to avoid nepo baby stigma

Whoopi Goldberg has leapt to the defense of Barack Obama‘s daughter Malia after the former First Daughter faced backlash for using a stage name at the Sundance Film Festival.

The 25-year-old decided to ditch her famous surname and use the moniker Malia Ann on her debut short film, titled The Heart, in an apparent attempt to distance herself from her father.

Film fans were left fiercely split online with some claiming it was brave to strike out on her own and others branding it as an attempt to ‘sneak past nepo baby discourse.’

But Whoopi, 68, has since given an impassioned speech on The View to fight Malia’s corner.

Whoopi Goldberg has leapt to the defense of Barack Obama's daughter Malia after the former First Daughter faced backlash for using a stage name at the Sundance Film Festival

Whoopi Goldberg has leapt to the defense of Barack Obama’s daughter Malia after the former First Daughter faced backlash for using a stage name at the Sundance Film Festival

The 25-year-old decided to ditch her famous surname and use the moniker Malia Ann on her debut short film, titled The Heart, in an apparent attempt to distance herself from her father

The 25-year-old decided to ditch her famous surname and use the moniker Malia Ann on her debut short film, titled The Heart, in an apparent attempt to distance herself from her father

In the segment, which aired earlier today, Whoopi's cohosts seemed to universally agree on the situation

In the segment, which aired earlier today, Whoopi’s cohosts seemed to universally agree on the situation

In the segment, which aired earlier today, Whoopi explained: ‘Former First Daughter Malia Obama recently made her directorial debut at the Sundance Film Festival with a short film called The Heart – but she’s credited as Malia Ann.

‘Apparently some folks online are criticizing her for it, claiming that everyone knows she’s an Obama so it’s pointless to hide it.’

But the host then launched into sharing her own thoughts.

‘She knows she is an Obama why do you care? Why do you care what she calls herself?

‘If she wanted to call herself Jeanette MacDonald she has the right to,’ she said in reference to the American singer and actress from the 1930s.

Ripples of applause rang through the audience as the TV personality, whose real name is Caryn Elaine Johnson, continued: ‘If I can be Whoopi Goldberg, she can be whoever the hell she wants to be.’

‘Why are people triggered by this kind of stuff? Why are people wasting their time?’

And Whoopi’s cohosts seemed to universally agree.

But Whoopi, 68, (pictured with Barack Obama in 2011) has since given an impassioned speech on The View to fight Malia's corner

But Whoopi, 68, (pictured with Barack Obama in 2011) has since given an impassioned speech on The View to fight Malia’s corner

Film fans were left split by the decision with some claiming it was brave to strike out on her own and others branding it as an attempt to 'sneak past nepo baby discourse'

Film fans were left split by the decision with some claiming it was brave to strike out on her own and others branding it as an attempt to ‘sneak past nepo baby discourse’

Sara Haines said: ‘Everything with Obama on it to her probably harkens her parents so to be able to put her own name on something and say this is my little wedge.’

And Alyssa Farah Griffin agreed that Malia was facing an impossible scenario, adding the situation left the aspiring writer ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t.’

Whoopi cut in to once again urging the public to ‘leave this child alone… you’ve got too much time on your hands.’

She continued: ‘You want to be worried about something? Worry about who is running for president.

‘This girl is a filmmaker and she’s doing her thing. I don’t understand why people feel the need to crush other people’s dreams. Can you stop?’

The Sister Act star concluded: ‘My point is, if you’re going to worry about something, don’t worry about this girl whose doing her thing.’

Since the Obamas left the White House in 2017, Malia and younger sister Sasha have kept a relatively low profile.

Both attended college – Malia to Harvard and Sasha to the University of Michigan – and have gone on to start their own careers.

Malia started off as an intern on Halle Berry’s CBS sci-fi series, Extant, when she was just 15, and then went on to intern on HBO’s Girls when she was 17.

She also won an internship for Harvey Weinstein’s production company when she was 19, in the months before the sex abuse scandal broke in 2017.

She then worked as a staff writer on Donald Glover’s Amazon Prime series, Swarm. Glover said to Vanity Fair in 2022: ‘She’s just like, an amazingly talented person. She’s really focused, and she’s working really hard.

‘I feel like she’s just somebody who’s gonna have really good things coming soon. Her writing style is great.’

Since the Obamas left the White House in 2017, Malia and younger sister Sasha have kept a relatively low profile

Since the Obamas left the White House in 2017, Malia and younger sister Sasha have kept a relatively low profile

Getting a short film accepted into Sundance is extremely competitive, they receive over 10,000 submissions a year and only pick around 200 for entry.

In her Meet the Artist video for her debut film at Sundance, Malia said: ‘The film is about lost objects and lonely people and forgiveness and regret.

She said it ‘works hard to uncover where tenderness and closeness can exist in these things.’

She added: ‘We hope that you enjoy the film and that it makes you feel a bit less lonely or at least reminds you not to forget about the people who are.’

Her decision to market herself as Malia Ann divided viewers.

One comment under the trailer read: I’m so proud of Malia. I noticed she’s also going by her middle name. It’s amazing to see people create their own lane. I’m sure she will be a great storyteller.’

Another said: ‘I salute her for her work. And not capitalizing on her last name. Go Malia. Hope you win a prize.’

But others were less supportive and cynically suggested she had dropped her surname to avoid being accused of nepotism.

One X user said: ‘Obama’s daughter trying to sneak past nepo baby discourse by not using her last name. Bro you are Obama’s daughter.’

They added: ‘Like if you wanna be a filmmaker that’s cool but we all know who you are, you’re Obama’s daughter. You can’t hide that’

But one X user pointed out the paradox, saying: ‘So they can’t get ahead using their name but if they try to get ahead n their own merits they’ll be called out on pretending? Brilliant logic.’

‘Nepo baby’ discourse swept the internet in 2022 after a X user posted about their shock over learning that Euphoria star Maude Apatow was the daughter of director Judd Apatow and actress Leslie Mann.

Their viral post sparked a fierce debate over whether or not the offspring of the rich and famous were getting an unfair leg up.

Critics pointed to a massive glut of rising starlets with famous parents, from Johnny Depp’s daughter Lily-Rose Depp to Andie MacDowell’s daughter Margaret Qualley.

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