Giuliana Rancic: 'Fashion Police' editor should not be fired for taking my Zendaya dreadlocks joke out of context
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/09/2015
Giuliana Rancic has elaborated on her dreadlocks comment about Zendaya Coleman earlier this year that resulted in backlash, apologies, and problems for Fashion Police.
At the 2015 Oscars, Rancic had said on Fashion Police that Coleman's hair probably smelled of "patchouli oil and marijuana." Coleman flipped out on social media, which prompted Rancic to apologize twice.
Later on, Kelly Osbourne quit Fashion Police followed by Kathy Griffin. Osbourne made it clear one of her reasons for leaving was because she didn't want to appear racist, while Griffin confessed her humor didn't match the show's direction.
"I regret the situation. I wish I could go back in time and change it. With that said, at the time, no one thought there was anything wrong with what was happening until it aired. In its context, it was a joke written to be about the hippie culture. It was actually followed by a joke about the Grateful Dead. It just didn't make it [because of] time," Rancic told HuffPost Live in an interview.
"Patchouli oil is a hippie perfume... often used to mask the scent of marijuana that hippies wear. And so in my mind... I'm thinking, 'Peace, Bohemian hippie, Grateful dead, Phish concerts... and a laid-back lifestyle...' It wasn't the writers' intention, my intention, producers' intention, anyone's intention [to offend], nor did anyone see any sort of racial undertones or connotation in that joke."
Rancic explained that if you look up "patchouli oil" on any site online, there is absolutely no association with race.
"Whatever you look at online -- and I've looked at all of them -- there is absolutely no relation between the two. I never would've said anything that I thought had some sort of racial undertones. We had five hours and 50 sets of eyeballs there, I mean, no one saw anything in its context," the Giuliana & Bill star said.
"The problem is, when the joke was edited, I had made 'peace signs' and said 'Bohemian' twice. That was taken out. So when the joke aired, it did come off as offensive to people, which I totally understand. And that's why of course I wish I could go back and change that and change all of it."
Rancic said that when the controversy was unfolding, she didn't take the time to explain herself because she thought it was necessary to apologize simply because people were offended or hurt -- regardless of what her motives were.
"I'm happy I [apologized]. I don't regret that at all because when I see that people are hurt, I don't care what the reason is. I'm going to apologize because I feel bad," Rancic told HuffPost.
Although Rancic is basically suggesting the editor behind Fashion Police's segment about Coleman is at fault for taking her joke out of context, she still doesn't think that person should get fired.
"I think it's a hard thing to talk about and quite honestly -- I will give you the honest answer to that -- I don't think so. The reason I don't think so is because I promise you that no one had any bad intentions when they aired that. No one meant any harm from it," Rancic explained.
"You're taping a show for three-and-a-half, four hours, literally. There's so much tape that has to be brought down to 42 minutes in a very short period of time. So they're just cutting and cutting... And sometimes you're not realizing, 'I might have cut the context of a joke out.'"
The E! News host continued: "So it hurt me ultimately and it was awful, but I have nothing to hide and I'll talk about it all day long."