Melissa Rivers Slams Kathy Griffin: She “S–t All Over My Mother’s Legacy”

Melissa Rivers, Kathy Griffin
Melissa Rivers told Hoda Kotb that she feels Kathy Griffin "s--t all over" the late Joan Rivers' legacy when she left Fashion Police in March Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire; Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

No love lost here. Melissa Rivers was not happy with the way Kathy Griffin left Fashion Police back in March. In an interview with the Today show's Hoda Kotb at the 92nd Street Y in New York City on Wednesday, May 13, the Book of Joan author, 47, confessed that Griffin's exit statement rubbed her the wrong way.

"It wasn't a match on a lot of levels," she began diplomatically, after jokingly asking whether anyone was filming her conversation with Kotb. 

Rivers went on to say that she felt Griffin did a disservice to her late mother, the comedienne Joan Rivers, who died last September at age 81. The My Life on the D-List star replaced Joan on Fashion Police in December, but left just a few months later amid controversy over co-host Giuliana Rancic's remarks regarding Zendaya's Oscars dreadlocks.

"My biggest complaint was the feeling that she kind of s–t all over my mother's legacy in her statement on leaving," Melissa told Kotb. "And I know that that was not an intentional reading of it, but that's how I felt…That was my takeaway, by [her] calling the comedy and the style of it old-fashioned. It's like, I understand what you're doing, you're trying to save yourself, but don't crap all over my mother to do it."

She added: "That was very personal. But as a professional, that was her choice, that's what she did. No harm, no foul, moving on."

Griffin's statement at the time didn't include the specific phrase "old-fashioned," but it did suggest that the show contributed "to a culture of unattainable perfectionism and intolerance towards difference."

"When I chose to step into the shoes of my beloved Joan Rivers at Fashion Police, I was thrilled to continue her legacy as a woman being brash and eccentric on television. I am a freedom-loving female and gay rights activist who loves to find the funny in all people, attitudes, beliefs, and appearances, but only when the context permits intelligent humor," she said in March.

"My brand of humor, while unrepentant and unafraid, is all about CONTEXT," she continued. "I hope to continue to make you all laugh performing live or on television where I can be smart, irreverent, unrepentant, and unafraid in an observational way that is candid, honest, and justified." 

Melissa, for her part, thinks the show's problems began as soon as Joan passed away. She even went so far as to say the debacle over Zendaya "never would have happened" if Joan were alive.

"I think there might be a little bit of a twinkle in her eye, saying, 'Y'all couldn't do it without me, could ya?'" she quipped when Kotb asked how Joan might react to the current state of Fashion Police, which is on hiatus until the fall. "And then after that I think she'd be a little bit frustrated." 

Regarding the Zendaya controversy, which led to the departure of longtime co-host Kelly Osbourne, she said, "If something like that had happened and my mother had been alive, her reaction immediately would have been, 'Oh, please, all this over a wig?' Literally, it was a wig! Let's just all relax." 

She continued: "[Joan] would have called Giuliana and yelled at Giuliana, she would have called Kelly and yelled at Kelly, and said 'Stop it.' She would have listened to them both cry and complain about each other. And she'd be like, 'Okay, is everyone over it? Let's go to work and make a funny show.'"

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