E! mainstay Giulana Rancic is determined to prove she is not racist. Like picking at a scab as it heals, Rancic appeared on the TODAY show Monday to talk about that time she made a racist comment about Zendaya's Oscar style. She hopes everyone can forget that time she made a racist comment about Zendaya's Oscar style.
Let's all revisit that moment, one last time and then never again until Giuliana brings it up: On this year's Academy Awards red carpet episode of Fashion Police, Rancic said of Zendaya: "She just has such a tiny frame that this hair, to me, overwhelms her. I feel like she smells like patchouli oil," Rancic said. "Or weed! Yeah, maybe weed?"
Here is what Zendaya wore:
That comment, Giuliana told Savannah Guthrie, ended up looking and sounding racist after the episode—which she reminds us did not air live and was pre-taped—was edited in post-production.
"You know, I made a reference to the hippie culture," she told Guthrie. "I talked about patchouli oil, which is a hippie perfume. And in the editing process, some of the gestures I made, some of the things I said were taken out for time. I made peace signs, I said 'bohemian' twice—those were taken out for time. So when the joke aired, some people were offended by it."
Her other defense: No one said anything!
"There were about 40 people in the studio audience, but in addition, there were about 40 people—executives, cast members, hair and makeup—[there]. Not one person said anything," Rancic went on. "It wasn't a live show; it was taped. We had several hours to fix it. The editors, the producers, no one saw anything wrong because when they heard the joke, it was truly a joke about the hippie culture."
Weird. So is E!, who has indeed been suspiciously quiet during this entire debacle, trying to throw Giuliana under the bus, like the Wrap surmised last month? They appear to corroborate her version of events:
TheWrap has obtained the script from the episode. Below, see the full "Fashion Police" joke about Zendaya that was taped. Note: The bracketed and underlined text below was edited out before broadcast.
"I love Zendaya's style and I love when she has the little hair, she just had it. She has such a tiny frame that this hair to me overwhelms her, it's really heavy it overwhelms her [and it's just like too Boho. Zendaya is more high fashion. The hair to me, on her, is making her a little boho] like I feel like she smells like patchouli oil and weed.
A show insider tells TheWrap that while Giuliana was saying the edited out lines during taping, she is seen flashing the peace sign on both hands, clearly indicating a reference to a hippie remark.
But also, to be clear, Giuliana finds racism "reprehensible." She told TODAY, "I don't tolerate it at all. Nor have I ever. I think that's really important for me to get that out there, because that's been the hardest part of all of this—that someone could believe that I actually...would have racial undertones in the things that I do. Absolutely not."
"It's very important for me to just get out there and tell the real story, and I knew I would have my moment," Giuliana said. "But those darn headlines were so crazy for so long that I thought, 'Let everything calm down, and then I can come out and tell the real story.'"
[Image via TODAY]