Joan Rivers' Joke About Cleveland Hostage Victims Had an Even Worse Follow-Up

Joan RiversComedienne Joan Rivers isn't exactly known for her politically correct sense of humor, but she's under fire for cracking a seriously rude joke about the women held hostage in a Cleveland home and abused for a decade. Apparently Rivers was on the Today show this week and, in complaining about her living arrangements, said, "Those women in the basement in Cleveland had more space."

Attorneys for Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus instantly spoke out on behalf of their clients, calling Rivers' comment hurtful and shocking. I'm not particularly surprised by the joke itself, but Rivers' public response to the backlash was pretty jaw-dropping … even for her.

The statement from Berry and DeJesus' lawyers reads,

Our clients are strong, private women who have endured unwanted and often painful media attention for quite some time. They now have to endure this, which is a new low, and we believe a sincere apology is warranted.

It doesn't sound like an apology is coming, however, sincere or otherwise. Here's what Rivers told TMZ:

They got to live rent free for more than a decade.

She added that the women should lighten up, because they're clearly not suffering any long-term damage:

One of them has a book deal. Neither are in a psych ward. They're okay. I bet you within three years one of them will be on Dancing With the Stars.

Oh man. That's ... wow. That's harsh even by Joan Rivers standards. Her follow-up comments are far more cringeworthy than the original joke was, which makes me think those attorneys should have just let Rivers' comment go unaddressed instead of calling more attention to it -- which just resulted in Rivers doubling down on the victims.

The thing is, there's is NOTHING that's off limits for Joan Rivers. I mean, consider just a few of the jokes she's made at others' expenses in recent years:

On Lena Dunham:

How could she wear a dress above the knee? You are sending a message out to people saying, 'It's okay. Stay fat. Get diabetes. Everybody die, lose your fingers.'

On Heidi Klum:

The last time a German looked this hot was when they were pushing Jews into the ovens.

On Kim Kardashian's daughter North West:

That baby is ugly ... I've never seen a 6-month-old so desperately in need of a waxing.

On Adele:

What is her song? Rolling in the deep? She should add fried chicken!

On Lindsay Lohan's miscarriage:

I hope she kept it. What? I was born with a coat hanger in my ear.

I'm not saying her comments about those kidnapped women are acceptable, but it's kind of hard to summon a bunch of outrage over this particular joke when there have been so many that were way over the line. Honestly, I used to have a lot of respect for Joan Rivers, but these days I feel like she's just clinging to fame through increasingly outrageous soundbites. Still, what's the point of asking her to apologize? It would never be sincere. Better to just dismiss it as yet another below-the-belt barb that Rivers is dishing out in hopes of grabbing a headline.

What do you think, was this joke more offensive than Rivers' past comments?

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nonmember avatar Maggie Jackson

I was dragged to a Joan Rivers show some years ago. Its entirety was a series of bathroom humor jokes only worthy of eight-year-olds. Crude and to a spectacular degree, but, worse, not of it was remotely funny. Her humor on The Fashion Police is similar: All vagina and slut jokes and not a single giggle. This story doesn't surprise me at all.

Mark Cox

some funny some not..just like every other comic

EmilyH87 EmilyH87

Ugh. She's gross.

nonmember avatar frangail

Joan rivers is nothing more than white trash

jec72579 jec72579

I agree with the writer that Joan Rivers is only trying to cause controversy in order to grab a headline. In truth, she's an OLDDD lady who stop being even remotely funny years ago. She doesn't even realize that people only watch her fashion show for the other (younger) people that are on it. 

It's time for her to shut her mouth and go into a nursing home already. 


Would it be wrong if it was about Melissa? I hope she loses her car commercial. She's vile, there was no reason for that.

nonmember avatar Raswells

I may have an unpopular opinion here but this is one of those "Who cares?" things for me. In the real world people say thing far more offensive and ill-willed, or worse, actually carry out deeds like the one Joan Rivers made this comment about.

Just like Daniel Tosh and the rape joke, yeah it's offensive, but some people have the humor to laugh at it and absolutely not a single person alive takes a comic's joke to be reality, it's comedy and likely false. If you don't have the sense of humor to laugh at an offensive joke then find a non-offensive comic.

Joan is hit and miss for me, personally, but but I think she's tame compared to the likes of Lisa Lampenelli and Sarah Silverman and they frequently put me into tears of laughter. Moms should just stay out of discussing comedy. It's not something that's supposed to be discussed.

Bill Lancaster

To say your opinion "may" be unpopular is a major understatement. Of course, worse things have been said and done. But that doesn't lessen the wrong of what Rivers did. And it is her follow-up comments that really crossed the line. She wasn't trying to be funny. She was just giving everyone the finger and trying to prove what a gigantic a**hole she was - and she succeeded.

nonmember avatar Mike

That old bag makes 30 insensitive jokes/comments every week. If the lawyers would have just shut their trap, nobody would remember the comment, most wouldn't even know about the comment. Thanks to the lawyers, this story is on the front page of CNN and the entire nation is reading about it. If they were really concerned with "painful media attention" they would should have just said nothing and this wouldn't even be an issue.

nonmember avatar danielle

What happened to the days when if you were offended by something, you just ignored it? Now everyone runs to the media to voice how offended they are, giving a situation 100x's more attention than it had to begin with. If they didn't make their lawyer make a public statement, the comment wouldn't have had any attention and the second comments wouldn't have ever happened. If they want out of the spotlight, they have a strange way of showing it.

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