Melissa Rivers on Oscars’ Lack of Diversity: ‘We’re Yelling at the Tail Instead of the Dog’

Oscar veteran Melissa Rivers is weighing in on the #OscarsSoWhite controversy — saying the Academy’s lack of diversity is the result of a far larger problem.

Melissa Rivers attends the 'Let's Kibitz' Showcase hosted by JDate at Hollywood Improv
Melissa Rivers attends the 'Let's Kibitz' Showcase hosted by JDate at the Hollywood Improv Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images

The Fashion Police star, who first covered the Oscar red carpet 21 years ago alongside her late mother, Joan Rivers, told Us Weekly she has a huge amount of sympathy for the Academy's president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs.

And while she agrees the awards ceremony should be more diverse, the sharp-tongued TV star feels this year's lack of diverse ethnic representation is the result of a larger, systemic problem in Hollywood.

"You have to remember, the tail doesn't wag the dog, the dog wags the tail," the 48-year-old television presenter and host told Us exclusively at the JDate "Let's Kibitz" comedy showcase held at Hollywood's Improv on Wednesday, January 20.

"Everyone is angry at the tail. The problem is the dog. Until that problem is solved, and there's a larger pool of roles and performances, you're going to find yourself in this situation," she continued.

"Of course some amazing performances were overlooked," she added. "But some amazing performances by actors and actresses of every color were overlooked. I feel badly for the president of the Academy, because not only is she a woman, she's black. If anyone's going to be sensitive to this situation, it's going to be her," Rivers went on.

"There's a systemic problem with opportunities for different races in Hollywood and I'm glad there's attention being put on it," she continued.

But while all of the major acting nominations have gone to white actors and actresses, Rivers believes it's the perfect year for Chris Rock to be host.

"I love the fact that Chris Rock is hosting, I love the irony of that," she said. "[He] is absolutely one of my favorites, hosting, and I can't wait to see what he has to say."

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