I’m confused, or rather disappointed, by the Kelly Osbourne Fashion Police departure. Perhaps Kelly is using this controversy as a way to exit the show that she already wanted to leave, I hope that is the case, otherwise there is a clear double standard.
In case you missed the news, Kelly announced she is leaving the show after the controversy over co-panelist’s Giuliana Rancic’s Oscar night comments about Zendaya Coleman’s hair. Quick recap, Coleman debuted her new dreadlocks on the Oscar Red Carpet, and Rancic said the Coleman looked like she smelled of “patchouli or weed”.
Rancic was quickly taken to task for her comments, for which she issued an apology to Coleman.
Coleman issued her own response to Rancic on Instagram.
So here is where I get confused…
For years Fashion Police founder and star, Joan Rivers, made inappropriate and disparaging comments about people’s weight. Specifically she made cruel comments about Adele, and when asked to apologize Rivers flatly refused saying Adele “should just calm down, or lose weight” because it’s humor. As someone who spoke up against Rivers comments, I was told I just needed to lighten up, after all that is River’s “style of comedy”.
Same situation occurred when Charles Barkley made fat shaming comments about the women of San Antonio He flat out refused to even apologize for offending people, and defended his comment as comedy, part of the nature of his show. This all took place during the time when Clippers owner, Donald Stirling, was removed for his racist comments.
Disparaging comments about race result in public outcries for people to apology and/or lose their jobs, while comments about weight are defended as entertainment?
Here are my two favorite points from Giulianna’s apology:
“I just want everyone to know that I didn’t intend to hurt anybody. But I’ve learned it is not my intent that matters; it’s the result. And the result is that people are offended, including Zendaya. That is not OK.
This really has been a learning experience for me — I’ve learned a lot today — and this incident has taught me to be a lot more aware of cliches and stereotypes, how much damage they can do, and that I am responsible, as we all are, to not perpetuate them further.” – Giuliana Rancic
Individuals affected by obesity, such as myself, are often judged based on stereotypes perpetuated in society. Jokes like those made by Rivers and Barkley only perpetuate stereotypes and assumptions like obesity is due to poor lifestyle choices, or that people affected by obesity are lesser or not worthy as their normal weight counterparts. Weight bias and stigma is not a joke, it’s not funny. It is harmful, especially in the workplace and healthcare.
Sure the intention might be one of entertainment, but when it is pointed out that those comments can be harmful, instead of issuing an apology these stars just issue even more hateful comments. And it’s accepted.
Giuliana issues an apology and yet there are still calls for her to be fired, and a co-host leaves the show? Kelly, of all people should see what a double standard this is, she has been harshly criticized for her weight, in 2010 Osbourne told US Weekly, “I took more hell for being fat than I did for being an absolute raging drug addict. I will never understand that.”
I’ll never understand how Kelly had such as close relationship with Joan, and never threatened to leave the show over Joan’s fat shaming comments or refusal to apologize, yet Giuliana’s apology is not enough?
Photo Credit: Eva Rinaldi cc