Joan Rivers believes that everyone needs to “calm down” over her glib joke about the women who were held captive for a decade in Ohio.
The 80-year-old compared her living arrangements with her daughter to the confinement of the three women held by Ariel Castro in Cleveland. Michelle Knight, Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry escaped from his basement last year after 10 years of rape, starvation and emotional and physical abuse. Castro was sentenced to life, plus 1,000 years in prison, where he later hung himself.
Rivers is currently staying in her daughter’s guest room while she films a new reality television show, Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?
“Those women in the basement in Cleveland had more room,’’ Rivers said on The Today Show. “I mean, it is just the worst.”
Unsurprisingly, the lawyers of Berry and DeJesus demanded an apology.
“We understand that Ms. Rivers is a comedienne; however, the idea that a celebrity would say something this hurtful, on national television no less, is beyond shocking and disappointing,” they said in a statement. “Our clients are strong, private women who have endured unwanted and often painful media attention for quite some time. They now have to endure this, which is a new low, and we believe a sincere apology is warranted.”
But Rivers maintains that she was completely within her rights as a comedienne to fire off jokes about the women who have recently undergone such extreme abuse.
“I’m a comedienne,’’ she said. “I know what those girls went through. It was a little, stupid joke. There is nothing to apologise for. I made a joke. That’s what I do. Calm down. Calm f****ng down. I’m a comedienne. They’re free, so let’s move on.’’
But she wasn’t finished. It’s almost as if she feels defensive about the comments.
“They got to live rent free for more than a decade,” she told TMZ. “I bet you within three years one of them will be on Dancing With the Stars. One of them has a book deal. Neither are in a psych ward. They’re OK.’