Joan Rivers Jokes About Cleveland Kidnapping Victims, Will Not Apologize
Joan Rivers has refused to apologize to Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, two of the women held captive for ten years by Ariel Castro in Cleveland, for a joke she made on Today.
Joan Rivers Jokes About Cleveland Kidnapping
Rivers appeared on the morning show with her daughter, Melissa Rivers, to promote their reality series Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best? and the mother-daughter duo brought a clip with them of Rivers breaking down a wall in Melissa’s home. Rivers explained on the show that she craved more room than the gest bedroom she has been occupying in her daughter’s home.
“Those women in the basement in Cleveland had more space,” Rivers exclaimed about her living space.
The joke shocked the Today anchors, and even Melissa was visibly surprised by her mother’s attempt to make comedy out of the Cleveland kidnappings, in which three women, Berry, DeJesus and Michelle Knight, who were all held captive by Castro for around a decade.
“Too soon?” Rivers added after the anchors reacted.
Today co-host Al Roker looked into the camera to address the audience, saying, “You be the judge.”
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Knight, 32, has not commented on the “joke,” but Berry, 27, and DeJesus, 24, released a joint statement from their attorneys, saying that they were extremely hurt and offended by Rivers’ comments.
“Our clients have become aware of Joan Rivers’ unfortunate comparison of living in her daughter’s guest room to their captivity. We understand that Ms. Rivers is a comedienne; however, the idea that a celebrity would say something this hurtful on national television no less, is beyond shocking and disappointing. Our clients are strong, private women who have endured unwanted and often painful media attention for quite some time. They now have to endure this, which is a new low, and we believe a sincere apology is warranted,” reads the statement.
Joan Rivers Refuses To Apologize
Rivers responded to the statement saying that she has no intention of apologizing. Not only was she completely unsympathetic to the women’s request for an apology, she continued to joke about their abduction, saying, “They got to live rent free for more than a decade.”
“One of them has a book deal. Neither are in a psych ward. They’re ok. I bet you within three years one of them will be on Dancing With the Stars,” Rivers said.
Rivers continued, defending herself by saying that she isn’t the first comedian to make light of tragedy.
“The TV the guy gave them must not have had SNL,” Rivers added.
Rivers also defended herself in a statement to an Ohio newspaper, saying, “I’m a comedian. I know what those girls went through. It was a little, stupid joke. There is nothing to apologize for. I made a joke. That’s what I do. They’re free, so let’s move on.”
– Olivia Truffaut-Wong
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