Joan Rivers' acerbic sense of humor dominates E!'s "Fashion Police," but some critics think the 79-year-old went above and beyond the fashion critic's call of duty when she cracked a certain joke about the German-born Heidi Klum's plunging Oscar night gown.
On Monday's episode, Klum's revealing Julien Macdonald number prompted Rivers to joke, "The last time a German looked this hot was when they were pushing Jews into the ovens."
Rivers' comment upset the Anti-Defamation League's Abraham H. Foxman, a Holocaust survivor, who said that as the daughter of Russian-born Jewish immigrants, Rivers should have known the joke crossed a line.
Of all people, Joan Rivers should know better. This remark is so vulgar and offensive to Jews and Holocaust survivors, and indeed to all Americans, that we cannot believe it made it to the airwaves. Making it worse, not one of her co-hosts [Giuliana Rancic, Kelly Osbourne and George Kotsiopoulos] made any effort to respond or to condemn this hideous statement, leaving it hanging out there and giving it added legitimacy through their silence. Almost as bad as her original comment is the fact that she sat there doubled over with laughter after saying it.
There are certain things about the Holocaust that should be taboo. This is especially true for Jews, for whom the Holocaust is still a deeply painful memory. It is vulgar and offensive for anybody to use the death of six million Jews and millions of others in the Holocaust to make a joke, but this is especially true for someone who is Jewish and who proudly and publicly wears her Jewishness on her sleeve.
The ADL has demanded an apology from the E! network, but don't expect Rivers to take the joke back.
"My husband lost the majority of his family at Auschwitz and I can assure you that I have always made it a point to remind people of the Holocaust through humor," she told The Hollywood Reporter.
According to the Daily Mail, Joan's German-born husband emigrated to Denmark to escape the Nazis. He committed suicide in 1987.