Joan Rivers refuses to apologise about joke over Ariel Castro victims: ‘They got to live rent free for more than a decade’

The outspoken comedienne says that everyone’s just overreacting

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.’

Read more: Joan Rivers attacks Jennifer Lawrence
Interview: Joan Rivers talks stand-up
Joan Rivers denies racism
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most