There’s been a lot of shake-up on Fashion Police lately. In the wake of Joan Rivers sudden death, comedian Kathy Griffin was hired to replace the icon. Then, during this year’s Oscars episode, co-host Giuliana Rancic made an ignorant and racially-charged comment regarding actress Zendaya Coleman’s locs. The incident prompted Fashion Police co-host Kelly Osbourne, a friend of Zendaya’s, to quit the show after a five-year stint. Now, only seven episodes in, The Washington Post reports that Griffin is also quitting the show, meaning that the show will lose half its hosts in just a few short weeks.
While it could be said that Griffin is leaving to get out of dodge before this controversy really blows up, she posted a status on Twitter that kind of blows our minds with how thoughtful and spot-on it is. Outlets like Mic are saying her post deserves “a standing ovation,” and celebs like Mindy Kaling and Aubrey Plaza are tweeting at her in solidarity.
Here’s is Griffin’s exit statement in its entirety, as she posted it on Twitter:
So let’s talk through this. Griffin says some really important and commendable things here like, “I do not want to use my comedy to contribute to a culture of unattainable perfectionism and intolerance towards difference. I want to help women, gay kids, people of color and anyone who feels underrepresented to have a voice and a LAUGH.” We cannot argue with that. In fact, we applaud her.
But, Griffin HAS based a lot of her past comedic career on making fun of celebrities and their bodies. We remember those moments, the Washington Post pointed out those moments, and so a statement that she is adamantly against that kind of comedy is a little hard to wrap our brains around. But then again, people change.
With her departure, Griffin has made it known that she does not consider all forms of mockery to be equal. Griffin seems to believe that, when it comes to making fun of celebrities, insults can fall into one of two camps: valid and dehumanizing. Griffin articulated that difference in a recent interview with the Chicago Sun-Times:
“As it is my living, passion and vocation, here’s the best I can give you: I will make my Miley Cyrus jokes as long as people want to laugh at them. But there is a chasm of difference between making a joke about Miley Cyrus wearing duct tape over her nipples in public — which I think is totally fair game — and simply looking at a photo of her on a red carpet and saying she is ugly or a bad singer or pathetic or something like that.”
If you look back at the many, many, many jokes Griffin has told about celebrities over the years, I don’t think all, or even most of those jokes fall into the “fair game” category. However, I think Griffin has a point that not all insults are created equal and I can appreciate her wanting to make fun of silly celebrity outfits while wanting to stay clear of insults that take apart these stars’ physical appearances and personalities.
That said, there are still a lot of grey areas here, and we just wanted to talk through what we know and what we’re thinking. Her departure is bringing up a lot of questions, and a lot of ideas — about this situation, yes, but also about what type of comedy and content should be fair game on TV. Maybe as a society we’re finally actually turning a corner, putting our foot down on shows like this one, and saying enough is enough.