Melissa Rivers is apparently still seething over the recent debacle at E!’s “Fashion Police,” and she finally unleashed her feelings about Kathy Griffin.
“My biggest complaint was the feeling that she kind of shit all over my mother’s legacy in her statement on leaving,” Rivers told Hoda Kotb during a conversation Tuesday in a packed auditorium at the 92nd Street Y in New York City when asked about Joan Rivers‘ replacement on the show.
“And I know that was not an intentional reading of it, but that’s how I felt … By calling the comedy and the style of it old-fashioned. It was like, I understand what you were doing, you’re trying to save yourself, but don’t crap all over my mother to do it,” Rivers said.
Griffin abruptly left “Fashion Police” in March after just seven episodes as co-host, saying that her “style does not fit with the creative direction” of the show.
“As a professional that was her choice, that’s what she did — no harm no foul, moving on,” Rivers told “Today” anchor Kotb. When initially asked if she was glad when she found out that Griffin was a part of the show, she said: “It wasn’t a match, on a lot of levels.”
Rivers sat down with Kotb to promote her new book “The Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief, and Manipulation,” which celebrates her favorite memories of her mother. “She made a legitimate difference to a lot of people,” Melissa said.
Earlier in the interview, Melissa revealed that the first time she really heard her mom’s voice after she died last September, was telling her it was “going to be OK” during all of the “‘Fashion Police’ crazy … I heard her say other things too but I can’t repeat them.”
Rivers was referring to the aftermath resulting from offensive comments host Giuliana Rancic made about Zendaya’s dreadlocks at the Oscars. “I feel like she smells like patchouli oil and weed,” she said, igniting a scandal that prompted Kelly Osbourne to quit and the show to fracture.
As an executive producer and one of creators of the show, Melissa revealed that she wanted to say something, but bit her tongue. “It was a very, very difficult time, I had a lot of conversations with everybody involved … It really shows that we were a family. We went back too fast, and when the matriarch died the sisters started fighting.
“It was extremely frustrating as I had to keep my eye on the franchise and the legacy of it and not get involved in the personal,” she said.
The debacle also destroyed her last connection to Joan. “I felt like ‘Fashion Police’ was this little jewel, and it was the last piece I had of my mother and I working together. I felt like all these people were so out of control, including the one who made the allegations of racism.
“They took the last thing I had and smashed it,” she said. “I felt like I was Humpty Dumpty and I was on my knees gluing it back together.”
Rivers said she had to take a break and refocus and has now just started taking creative meetings again to reformat. “It never would have happened if she was alive,” she said.
Watch the video below (Rivers’ comments about Griffin are at the 20:24 mark).