Joan Rivers stormed out of a CNN interview recently when the interviewer, CNN Newsroom anchor Fredricka Whitfield, broached the subject of Rivers being "mean" with her fashion criticisms, and her choice to wear fur on the cover of her new book. Rivers was having none of it.
Maybe Joan Rivers was just trying to make a splash as she promotes her new book, Diary of a Mad Diva. Or maybe she just wasn't interested in having to defend her comedy or her career during a TV interview. Regardless, things got tense quickly and then all-out awkward as evidenced by the video above (via EW), which starts out with Whitfield trying to keep the mood light while also calling Rivers' fashion critique "mean."
"We're one of the few shows that says, 'That's an ugly dress.' That's ok," Rivers explains, speaking about her E! Fashion Police series. "These ladies make $28 million a picture. You really think that Nicki Minaj cares I didn't like her dress? You know, when you're in that kind of bracket, you don't really care that someone doesn't like your dress."
That's probably debatable, but at the same time, it seems like what Rivers is saying is that her audience is the viewers, not the celebrities she's commenting on. And when it comes to her audience, her goal is to get laughs.
"Life is very tough, and if you can make a joke to make something easier and funny, do it. Done," Rivers explains. "Darling, I don't know what your life has been like, but I have a lot of people have gone through hell. Winston Churchill said, 'If you make someone laugh, you give 'em a little vacation.' And maybe you take the worst thing in the world and make it funny, it's a vacation for a minute from horror."
It's at this point that Whitfield might have tried to switch gears, but she stays the course, possibly because she doesn't realize Rivers is getting upset, as she brings up the fact that Rivers is wearing fur on the cover of her book. And that's when Joan Rivers has had enough.
"This whole interview is becoming a defensive interview," Rivers notes. "Are you wearing leather shoes? Then shut up. You're wearing fur. You're wearing leather shoes. You're eating meat. I don't want to hear this nonsense. Come to me with a paper belt and I'll talk to you."
Whitfield seems uncertain as to whether or not Rivers is joking. She isn't.
"I'm going because all you have done is negative," Rivers tells the interviewer. "I make people laugh for fifty years. I am put on Earth to make people laugh. My book is funny. I wear fur that was killed fifteen years ago. I work for animal rights. Stop it with 'You do this' and 'You're mean.' You are not the one to interview a person who does humor. Sorry."
Whitfield's response to Rivers' exit: Are we serious?
Apparently so. But maybe that's exactly the issue for Rivers, as far as people taking her comedy more seriously than she'd like.
And it certainly wouldn't be the first time Joan Rivers has taken heat for things she's said, particularly as it relates to celebrities. When news circulated that Kristen Stewart was suing Rivers over comments the comedian made in her book about the Twilight star, Rivers' response was reportedly, "She obviously didn't read our disclaimer, which is that it's a comedy book."