Kathy Griffin is leaving “Fashion Police” after seven episodes, citing “creative differences” with E! and the show’s producers, and leaving behind one mic-dropping tweet.
In an exclusive interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Griffin elaborates further—pointing out elements of the show’s style that conflicted with her values as a feminist and a comedian.
“The show wanted to do a running segment called “Whore Score.” Um, no thanks. I think we can do better. [...] Name-calling and alliteration with no comedic context is simply the lowest hanging fruit. If I’m making fun of Oprah, I don’t just scream, ‘She’s fat. G’night everybody.’”
Griffin's departure is timed close on the heels of another major "Fashion Police" controversy—Guiliana Rancic’s insensitive comments about Zendaya’s locs at the Academy Awards, an incident which sparked a huge national conversation about the way racial stereotypes can be perpetuated by the media.
While the internet is still buzzing with the repercussions of both Griffin and Kelly Osbourne leaving the show (What does this mean for Guiliana Rancic? How does Melissa Rivers feel about stepping into her mother’s role?), there’s also an important question raised by this news story that’s worth pointing out: Should "Fashion Police" continue on in the wake of these controversies or is it time to put the show to bed?
By using her departure from the show as a way to point out a culture of "perfectionism" and "intolerance," Griffin is making an important statement about that the way we discuss body image and appearance, one that echoes the spirit of organizations like #AskHerMore. While I agree that there’s certainly fun to be had in discussing celeb’s fashion choices, it’s the difference between "Is Miley dressed like a hot dog again?" and "That person is ugly."
Griffin's makes another great point that supports the idea that "Fashion Police" may have passed its peak in her Sun-Times interview, pointing out that the way we look at the world and view beauty has changed, and accordingly, comedy should change with it.
"My approach is ALWAYS to go for the laugh, be as inappropriate as possible, but also change with the times. Comedy requires evolution as much as any business. My goal would be to bring the comedic sensibility of any show I enter or take over into a more modern way of thinking … and laughing. [...] Look, God knows my — how shall I say — repertoire over all these years on TV and live touring has used some language I wouldn’t use today, but people just aren’t into that stuff anymore and I get it."
We live in a culture that is evolving and widening its standards of beauty, but at the same time, it's still one that's pretty eager to tear women down. So, it’s affirming to hear someone from within the top of the entertainment industry say, “Actually, this isn’t right, and if I can’t put a stop to it, I don't have to participate and I can take my talent elsewhere.” Brava, Kathy Griffin.