Joan Rivers Makes Vile Joke About Cleveland Captives, E! Host Refuses to Apologize: "Calm Down"

Celebrity News Apr. 24, 2014 AT 3:10PM
Joan Rivers attends an event on February 26, 2014 E! host Joan Rivers refuses to apologize after joking about the Cleveland home captives the Today show on Tuesday, April 22. Credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

She was just "Joansing"—and, once again, it backfired. Joan Rivers is in scalding hot water after making a vile joke about the women who were held captive in a Cleveland home by Ariel Castro for nearly a decade, during her appearance on the Today show, Tuesday, April 22.

The Fashion Police host—who has made a career with her snarky quips and comments—complained about staying in her daughter Melissa's guest room during her morning show appearance. "Those women in the basement in Cleveland had more space," she joked, while promoting her new WEtv reality series, Joan & Melissa, with her daughter. She added to TMZ on Wednesday, "They got to live rent free for more than a decade."

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The joke, however, did not settle well with the captives. Rivers' comment warranted an outraged response from the attorneys for two of the three women who escaped from the home in 2013, where they were tortured by Castro for a decade.

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Lawyers for victims Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus released a statement to Cleveland's local paper, The Plain Dealer, saying the TV personality had reached a "new low" with her latest comments. "Our clients have become aware of Joan Rivers' unfortunate comparison of living in her daughter's guest room to their captivity," the statement read.

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"Our clients are strong, private women who have endured unwanted and often painful media attention for quite some time," the lawyers added, also demanding an apology from Rivers. The E! personality told the local paper that it wasn't going to happen.

"I'm a comedienne," she said to the Plain Dealer on Wednesday, April 23. "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. Calm down. Calm f------ down. I'm a comedienne. They're free, so let's move on."

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