It’s been a busy few days in the world of asking comedians to apologize. First, The Onion was essentially forced to say its sorry about a satirical Oscars-night tweet, wherein they called 9-year-old actress Quvenzhané Wallis a “cunt.” And now, comedy icon Joan Rivers is under fire for making a Holocaust-themed joke about a dress model Heidi Klum wore.
“The last time a German looked this hot was when they were pushing Jews into the ovens,” Rivers said on a Feb. 25 episode of E! show Fashion Police. And now the Anti-Defamation League is demanding an apology from the comedian, who’s also Jewish. ADL National Director and Holocaust survivor Abe Foxman said the following:
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 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.
As of this writing, Rivers hasn’t issued an apology for her comments about Klum, who hasn’t said a peep about the joke.
This isn’t the first time Rivers has been slammed by the ADL. When Costco last year said they wouldn’t carry her book I Hate Everyone…Starting With Me because of its profanity, Rivers staged a protest outside the store and yelled into a megaphone, “Costco should not be like Nazi Germany! Next thing they’ll be burning the Bible.” When the ADL demanded an apology, she refused, saying, “Number one, my husband lost most of his family in Auschwitz, so don’t talk to me about the Holocaust. Number two, banning books anywhere is a bad portent. Number three, the ADL should worry more about the world’s attitude toward Israel than waste time and energy on me, because I’m not going to stop saying what I think.”
Should Rivers apologize for her joke about Klum or should she tell the ADL to cram it?