Giuliana Rancic is trying to salvage her public image after being labelled a racist over remarks she made on Fashion Police about actress Zendaya’s dreadlocks at the Academy Awards.
Giuliana commented on the look above with the Vivienne Westwood gown and dreadlocks at this weekend’s Oscars. The host said: “She has just such a tiny frame that this hair, to me, overwhelms her. I feel like she smells like patchouli oil… [another person off-camera says “Weed?”]. Or weed! Yeah, maybe weed?”
Zendaya responded to the segment with a long Twitter comment calling Giuliana’s insults “ignorant slurs and pure disrespect.” Giuliana tweeted back: “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!!!”
After a whole day of worsening criticism, Giuliana has issued a second and far more sincere apology (she was attacked for the initial “sorry I got caught/ sorry you were offended apology”).
In this video released by E!, she says she’s realised her mistake and apologises to everyone.
“I’d really like to address something that is weighing very heavy on my heart. I want to apologize for a comment that I made on last night’s Fashion Police about Zendaya’s hair.
Now, as you know, Fashion Police is a show that pokes fun at celebrities in good spirit, but I do understand that something I said last night did cross the line.
I just want everyone to know I didn’t intend to hurt anybody. But I have learned it is not my intent that matters, it’s the result. And the result is that people are offended, including Zendaya and that is not OK.
Therefore, I want to say to Zendaya and anyone else out there that I have hurt, that I am so, so sincerely sorry. This really has been a learning experience for me.
I’ve learned a lot today and this incident has taught me to be a lot more aware of cliches and stereotypes, how much damage they can do, and that I am responsible, as we all are, to not perpetuate them further. Thank you for listening.”
Giuliana’s apology comes almost immediately after her Fashion Police co-host Kelly Osbourne went on Twitter threatening to quit the show.
During Giuliana’s critique of Zendaya’s hair, another off-camera panelist actually makes the “weed” comment first. The comment is repeated by Giuliana on-camera. Some fans assumed the person who made the initial “weed”/ dreadlocks connection was actually Kelly.
Kelly denies saying anything negative about Zendaya because they’re friends. Kelly tweeted that if her name wasn’t cleared and the responsible people didn’t apologise she’d leave the show. She tweeted angrily: “I WILL NOT BE DRAGGED INTO THIS! The situation is being rectified like ADULTS by both parties. I hope you can leave it to them & do the same!” Adding “you guys do realize that @Zendaya is my friend right?”
Seemingly infuriated, she continued a few hours later: “Im giving everyone involved 24 hours to make it right or the world will hear how I really feel. contactually Im not allowed to speak!” she tweeted. “I DID NOT MAKE THE WEED COMMENT. I DO NOT CONDONE RACISM SO AS A RESULT OF THIS IM SERIOUSLY QUESTIONING STAYING ON THE SHOW!” Giuliana’s video may be a response to these tweets.
UPDATE Feb 25: Zendaya accepted Giuliana’s apology. The actress posted this to Instagram:
Studies have shown that even though we try to act without prejudice, sometimes it’s just hidden inside us due to our past or surroundings. That hidden prejudice is often influential in our actions. It’s our job to spot these issues within others and ourselves and destroy them before they become hurtful. I have so many people looking up to me, that I couldn’t be scared, wait it out, nor could I just stand up for me; I had to do it for WE.
It is important in this journey to remember that just because someone has inflicted hurt upon us, it does not give us the right to do the same. Body shaming and other hurtful tactics will never get the job done. As hard as it was to stop MYSELF from being ignorant and from posting the first mean words that came to my mind because I was hurt, I had to think about the bigger picture. Instead I sat for two hours on my phone, doing my research and formulating an educated response.
Giuliana, I appreciate your apology and I’m glad it was a learning experience for you and for the network. I hope that others negatively affected by her words can also find it in their hearts to accept her apology as well. From a quote we all know by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.’ Let’s be that light and spread that love.