Not every joke gets a laugh, as Joan Rivers is learning the hard way. The 79-year-old comedienne is being singled out by the Anti-Defamation League after a crack she made about Heidi Klum‘s gown during the Feb. 25 episode of E!’s Fashion Police.
Klum — a native of Bergisch Gladbach, Germany — wore a plunging gold Julien Macdonald dress to Elton John‘s annual AIDS Foundation Academy Awards viewing party in West Hollywood on Sunday, Feb. 24. “A lot of people are complimenting my dress, but they aren’t looking into my eyes when they say it,” the 39-year-old supermodel told The New York Post‘s Page Six of her cleavage-baring look. “I’m worried about it because my boobs could fall into my dinner, so I’m being very careful.”
Rivers poked fun at Klum’s ensemble on national television one day later, saying, “The last time a German looked this hot was when they were pushing Jews into the ovens.
The Anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman called the comments “vulgar and offensive to Jews and Holocaust survivors,” according to The New York Daily News.
“Of all people, Joan Rivers should know better,” Foxman continued. “Not one of her co-hosts [Giuliana Rancic, Kelly Osbourne and George Kotsiopoulos] made any effort to respond or to condemn this hideous statement, leaving it hanging out there and giving it added legitimacy through their silence.”
Foxman requested a formal apology and asked the network to remove the Fashion Police segment from future broadcasts.
Despite opposition from the Anti-Defamation League, Rivers — who is Jewish — stands by her joke. “My husband lost the majority of his family at Auschwitz, and I can assure you that I have always made it a point to remind people of the Holocaust through humor,” she said of her late second husband, Edgar Rosenberg, who committed suicide in 1987.
This isn’t the first time Rivers has been targeted by the Anti-Defamation League. In the fall of 2012, she compared Costco to Nazi Germany when the wholesale club refused to sell her book, I Hate Everything . . . Starting With Me.
“Germany is where banning books started, and it can start here just as quickly,” she said of Costco. When the Anti-Defamation League demanded an apology, Rivers told them to “shut the f-ck up.”