In her first television interview since her mother Joan Rivers passed away in August 2014, Melissa Rivers opened up about the public dysfunction that embroiled Fashion Police following Rivers’ death in an appearance on the TODAY Show Monday.
“The only way I can really get my head around it is the matriarch of the family died,” Rivers said in an interview with TODAY’s Matt Lauer. “And the family fell apart. And the sisters started fighting. And everybody mourns and grieves differently. And then someone tried to marry into the family. And we know how that went. That’s the only way I can sort of explain what happened.”
The weekly E! series—which launched in 2010 with Rivers as its host—became plagued with controversy when Rivers replacement Kathy Griffin left the show after just seven episodes. “I do not want to use my comedy to contribute to a culture of unattainable perfectionism and intolerance towards difference,” Griffin said of her departure in a statement at the time.
Reports of behind-the-scenes squabbling were further exacerbated when founding panelist Kelly Osborne made a highly public exit in February after co-host Giuliana Rancic said Zendaya Coleman’s dreadlocked Oscars hairstyle smelled of “patchouli oil” and “weed.” But despite ongoing accusations that Fashion Police skewers women under the pretense of criticizing style, Melissa—who reflects on her mother’s legacy in her upcoming memoir, The Book of Joan—remains a staunch supporter of the series.
“I think the show’s funny,” Melissa told TODAY. “And people say it’s mean-spirited. It wasn’t, because it was a celebration. My mother loved fashion. And she loved celebrity. And she loved being famous. And she loved that these women were getting dressed up.”
E!’s Fashion Police is officially on hiatus, and will return in September with a revamped format. E! has not announced replacements for either Griffin or Osbourne.