Fashion Police, the E! Entertainment panel show in which hosts, including the late Joan Rivers and Kelly Osbourne, discuss the latest celebrity fashion, has often been criticised for the often harsh insults thrown at celebrities based purely on their image. Recently, however, it reached such a level of controversy, it actually led to Kelly Osbourne quitting the show.
Discussing the Oscar fashion post-award show, host and reality star Giuliana Rancic said that Zendaya Coleman looked like she smelled like weed or patchouli oil after the 18-year-old walked the red carpet with dreadlocks.
The internet was quick to slam Rancic for the racist remarks, and Zendaya’s response was praised by many as a mature retaliation to the insults she received. Writing on her Instagram, the young actress and singer said “There is a fine line between what is funny and disrespectful. Someone said something about my hair at the Oscars that left me in awe. Not because I was relishing in rave outfit reviews, but because I was hit with ignorant slurs and pure disrespect. To say that an 18-year-old young woman with locs must smell of patchouli oil or ‘weed’ is not only a large stereotype but outrageously offensive.” She went on to say that she wore her hair in dreadlocks to the Oscars to “remind people of color that our hair is good enough.”
After the incident Giuliana Rancic apologized on Twitter, saying “Dear @Zendaya, I’m sorry I offended you and others. I was referring to a bohemian chic look. Had NOTHING to do with race and NEVER would!!!”. She later issued another apology on-air. Meanwhile, Kelly Osbourne was quick to show her displeasure on Twiter stating “I’m giving everyone involved 24 hours to make it right or the world will hear how I really feel. Contractually i’m not allowed to speak!”
Zendaya later accepted Rancic’s apology, and Kelly Osbourne tweeted that “It takes a strong woman to apologise & makes a forgiving woman even stronger! #thistooshallpass”. However, E! later revealed that she will be leaving Fashion Police to ‘pursue other opportunities’
But it appears this may not be the end of the matter, as it was recently revealed that E! reportedly edited out part of Giuliana’s comments on Zendaya’s hair. People Magazine reported that her remarks were preceded by a more thoughtful criticism of Zenday’s look, but E! producers cut the comments in order to zero in on the reference to drugs. In a script obtained by TheWrap, Rancic preceded her comments by saying, “And it’s just like too Boho. Zendaya is more high fashion. The hair to me, on her, is making her a little Boho.”
Whether the fault lies more with the producers at E! or Rancic herself, does it really matter? Yes, both parties involved acted with grace in their responses and apologies, but the comments that were made in the first place were still insulting and offensive whether taken out of context or not. Is a show where people rip apart the self esteem of a young 18-year-old woman based solely on the way she chooses to wear her hair something that should even be on the air? Surely Fashion Police is only doing more harm than good in the name of entertainment.