We live in a time when everyone is hunting for the next villain. Anything that is misunderstood or taken out of context is automatically labelled as offensive. If you’re a celebrity you should just assume that at some point Twitter will decide that you’re racist, sexist, ageist, transphobic or homophobic. The most recently villain is Fashion Police host Giuliana Rancic. She has come under fire after comments she made on about Zendaya’s dreadlocked hair at the Oscars. She said that her hair looked like it “smelled like patchouli oil.” A voice off camera adds in “… and weed.” The Twitter universe exploded like an angry mob of torch wielding villagers. Zendaya herself even released a statement explaining how hurt and offend she was by the comments. If that wasn’t enough, Kelly Osbourne jumped in and elevated the drama by threatening to leave Fashion Police if the situation wasn’t rectified. In fact the story only made real headlines once Kelly got involved. As a diehard Fashion Police watcher and Joan Ranger I have a lot of opinions on this so I figured the easiest way to handle it was to break it down one at a time.
1. Twitter. All of Twitter thinks someone is racist? SHOCKING!! (said no one ever) The nameless mass of Twitter generally assumes everyone is a racist all the time. It’s the ultimate social media platform for self-righteous attention seekers who get butthurt over everything. In the case of Giuliana, I genuinely don’t think race was ever a factor in her thought process. In fact the funny thing is that her comments are actually referring to a very white stereotype. Dreadlocks, patchouli oil, and weed are the foundations for any self-respecting neo-hippie stoner. Patchouli oil is a very common perfume scent used by said stoners to help mask the stench of weed. (I am very familiar with this type of person from my college years in the ultra-liberal earthy crunchy mecca of Amherst, MA.) So while everyone assumed the patchouli oil comment had racial undertones, she was in fact labeling Zendaya as a white hippie stoner. I wounder if patchouli oil is so specific to that niche that outsiders might not realize it’s context. With no context many would then assume any oil reference was meant to signal a racial remarks. The perfect example of this is from Wendy Williams. At the very beginning of her rant about this subject (around the 2:45 mark) she mentions, “I was offended as well because I don’t know what patchouli oil is but I just know my people use a lot of oils on their skin so it’s ashy.” She’s offended by something that she actually knows nothing about. I don’t know = You’re a racist. It’s the most Twitter thing anyone has ever said.
2. Zendaya. Why should I care that your feelings were hurt? More importantly, who the fuck are you? Seriously? While your response on Twitter was well thought out and professional the fact that you said anything at all is the problem. As a person climbing your way up the ladder of success and fame this is probably one of the nicer digs that will be said about you. I know you are trying to stand up to intolerance but believe me when I tell you that this is just a snowball fight in a larger world war. If you can’t handle a minor dig from Fashion Police then I am guarantee you will never survive when real hate is thrown your way and they attack every detail of your work, body, and life. As Rupaul has said in the past, “You need to toughen up and grow a thick skin if you want to survive.” I do agree with Wendy though that if you had to address the issue you should have either thrown Giuliana some serious shade or read her to filth.
3. Kelly Osborne. Oh Kelly, would you please shut the fuck up. I only read about this story when you threatened to leave the show. Your Twitter rantings took this from a minor Twitter feud to a headline story. There was no reason for you to get involved because this was not your fight to fight. You’d probably say you were just trying to defend your friend but you picked the worst way to do it. You could have taken Giuliana aside and explained your feelings and you could have even asked her to apologize to Zendaya personally. Maybe send her some flowers. Instead you chose to shoot your mouth off. It’s becoming clear that you’re probably not a good fit for the show anymore. You are increasingly becoming friends with the celebrities you talk about (Zendaya, Miley Cyrus etc) and it’s starting to hinder your ability to perform as needed on the show. Like Wendy said, Bye Felicia.
4. Giuliana Ranic. Of everyone I know, I tend to be the person who always sides more with the group that is calling out racist behavior. I agreed that Paula Dean and Donald Trump, amongst others, have deep racist undertones that shouldn’t be tolerated. I even wrote about the inequalities of SNL. With that said, I’m still team Giuliana all the way on this one. Even I can see that this is just a pure overreaction by an overly sensitive media culture. I respect that she did the politically correct thing by apologizing but I’d bet she was still thinking “This is total bull.” Keep your head up G.
5. Kathy and Brad. Kathy, you seem to have totally escaped this controversy much to your dismay. As the leading shock comedian it’s supposed to be you job to create the controversy. With that said I think your doing a great job and I imagine it was very hard coming into a fully formed show. As for Brad, I can’t believe how wonderful you are on the show. In fact I must admit I thought I was going to hate you. When you split from Rachel Zoe I was totally team Rachel and resented everything about you. I never thought I’d like you as much as I do. You totally won me over. Applause. Applause.
P.S. If Kelly does leave I suggest replacing her with Kimora Lee Simmons. She’s guest hosted the show before and was fantastic.
P.P.S This just in: “Twitter has labeled The Gay Gasp as insensitive, intolerant, and racist for his use of the word Mecca in and earlier statement.”