When comedy legend Joan Rivers passed yesterday afternoon after being removed from life support, people from all over mourned her passing in the form of tweets, Instagram messages, and Facebook posts. It’s a normal reaction to mourn such a prominent pop culture icon who has doubtlessly touched many, many people with her work. And what complicated work it was. A woman known for her caustic wit, Rivers enjoyed a position most female comedians could only dream of. But instead of challenging the status quo, she kinda sorta . . . reinforced it.
When famous people die, we like to remember all the good things. All the kind things. All the folksy interviews. All the photo opps with sick children and puppies. But humans are complex, multilayered beings. Even Joan Rivers. And while it is perfectly fine to mourn the loss of such laudable talent, it’s also totally okay to examine how that laudable talent contributed to so many awful things. Like this, for example:
Joan Rivers has been recorded making a slew of racial and homophobic slurs while expressing her disappointment in the controversy over Alec Baldwin’s alleged use of anti-gay language against a reporter.
The 80-year-old uttered highly offensive terms including “n*****”, “c**nk” and “fairy” as she argued to TMZ that people are being oversensitive about the incident during the trial of Baldwin’s stalker, which ultimately resulted in his MSNBC talk show being canceled.