Joan Rivers won't apologize to Ohio women over controversial joke

By: Ken Lombardi
By: Ken Lombardi
Joan Rivers says she will not apologize over an appearance on the "Today" show Tuesday in which she compared living arrangements with her daughter to the ordeal of three women held captive for a decade by Ariel Castro.

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were held captive in a Cleveland house for a decade before Berry escaped last year and summoned police, who rescued the other women.

(CBS) -- Joan Rivers isn't backing down from her latest controversial comments.

The 80-year-old comedienne says she will not apologize over an appearance on the "Today" show Tuesday in which she compared living arrangements with her daughter to the ordeal of three women held captive for a decade by Ariel Castro.

While promoting their WEtv reality series "Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best," the mother and daughter duo were asked what it was like living together. The elder Rivers has been residing at Melissa's home in Malibu, Calif., during the taping of the series.

"Those women in the basement in Cleveland had more space," Rivers said.

Following outrage on social media and calls from two of the victims' attorneys to apologize, Rivers remains defiant.

"I'm a comedienne," she told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I know what those girls went through. It was a little, stupid joke. There is nothing to apologize for. I made a joke. That's what I do. Calm down. Calm f------ down. I'm a comedienne. They're free, so let's move on."

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Attorneys for two women held in a Cleveland home and abused for a decade say Joan Rivers should apologize for comparing living in her daughter's guest room with the captivity they experienced.

Rivers and her daughter were discussing their reality show Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show when she complained about her living arrangements, saying, "Those women in the basement in Cleveland had more space."

A Wednesday statement from attorneys for Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus calls Rivers' remark hurtful and shocking. The attorneys say the women have endured painful media attention and the comment is "a new low" that warrants an apology.

Rivers' publicist hasn't responded to messages seeking comment.

Berry, DeJesus and a third woman, Michelle Knight, escaped last year. Their kidnapper, Ariel Castro, hanged himself in prison.


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