After emphatically stating that nearly 2,000 Palestinian civilians “deserved to die” during Israeli-led attacks in the Gaza Strip, Joan Rivers is backtracking and blaming the media for taking her words out of context. Rivers’ rant began when a TMZ reporter asked her opinion on the unprecedented amount of non-military citizens killed during the current Gaza conflict between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas. Rivers is seen on video, shouting, “You’re dead, you deserve to be dead. You started it. You started it. Don’t you dare make me feel sad about that.” Rivers continues: “They were told to get out. They didn’t get out. You don’t get out, you are an idiot. At least the ones that were killed were the ones with very low IQs.”
After enormous backlash online and in the news, the iconic comedian took to Facebook to explain herself:
I am both saddened and disappointed that my statement about the tragedy of civilian casualties was totally taken out of context. What I said and stand behind is, war is hell and unfortunately civilians are victims of political conflicts. We, The United States, certainly know this as 69 years later we still feel the guilt of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The media, as usual, has decided to only quote the most out of context and inflammatory non sequitur rather than giving an accurate account of what my intentions were behind the statement. Along with every other sane person in this world, I am praying for peace. It is stupid and wrong and I am tired of bearing the brunt of attacks by people who want to sell newspapers or gain ratings by creating a scandal about me that is non-existent.
While TMZ is a news organization not necessarily associated with being nurturing or unbiased with its interview subjects, it’s hard to believe that the video’s editing did much to make Rivers seem more hateful. TMZ has perfected the gross art of ambush video interviews. But, in this case, I’m not sure it matters that TMZ “has decided to only quote the most out of context and inflammatory” quotes. The fact is Rivers said what she said. What could she have possibly said before or after that somehow better explained the nuances of “You’re dead, you deserve to be dead…You don’t get out, you’re an idiot.”
Rivers feels she was taken out of context and that she believes there is, in fact, “an accurate account of what my intentions were behind the statement.” Let’s say Rivers did say the following: “War is hell and unfortunately civilians are victims of political conflicts” and that she’s praying for peace. Those few positive words don’t diminish the few horrendous words. I can’t call my wife’s mother a fucking cunt and then tell her she makes the best meatloaf and expect our relationship to be cool. As one of the most influential comedians in the world, Rivers knows the power of her words. She should also know it’s not mandatory to actually engage TMZ reporters every time they magically appear in front of her at an airport.
Finally Rivers should know that no one with half a brain believes her bullshit Facebook statement. She fucked up. She said a bunch of stuff she shouldn’t have said. Either apologize or own it and tell people, “Fuck you, I’m not apologizing for how how I feel.” But don’t blame other people for your actions. That’s what’s truly sad and disappointing here.