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Ministry of Gossip

Kathy Griffin's 'Fashion Police' exit gets outpouring of support

Kathy Griffin gets kudos on #FashionPolice departure from Chelsea Handler, Mindy Kaling, Lena Dunham

Kathy Griffin has given the new incarnation of "Fashion Police" the boot after just seven episodes.

The "unapologetic" comedienne, who stepped in for its previous host Joan Rivers, announced her departure via Twitter on Thursday, just a few weeks after co-host Kelly Osbourne stepped down in the midst of the show's Zendaya-Giuliana Rancic controversy.

The network confirmed Griffin's departure Thursday and said the show would continue with Rancic and co-host Brad Goreski. Rumored replacements for Osbourne have included Khloe Kardashian, NeNe Leakes and Naya Rivera, but there's no word yet on who might take the latest vacated spot.

In Griffin's lengthy treatise, the 54-year-old introduced herself and provided background on her accolades. Most importantly, she said her brand of humor didn't quite fit the snarky sartorial roundtable's "creative direction" and declared "it's time to move on." She added that she didn't want to use her comedy to "to contribute to a culture of unattainable perfectionism and intolerance toward difference."

"I am a freedom-loving female and gay rights activist who loves to find the funny in all people, attitudes, beliefs, and appearances, but only when the context permits intelligent humor," she wrote. "I thought that I could bring my brand of humor to 'Fashion Police' so that beautiful people in beautiful dresses could be teased when appropriate. My brand of humor, while unrepentant and unafraid, is all about CONTEXT. There is plenty to make fun of in pop culture without bringing people's bodies into it."

Not that Griffin has consistently left people's bodies out of her comedy equation in the past, as the Washington Post pointed out in detail on Friday.

Speaking of context, co-host Rancic's quip about actress Zendaya Coleman was reportedly deprived of that via the show's editing process, the Wrap reported last week after obtaining a script for the "FP" show that aired the day after the Oscars. Rancic got flack for saying the 18-year-old's dreadlocks probably smelled like patchouli oil or weed, and first apologized via Twitter, saying, "Dear @Zendaya, I'm sorry I offended you and others. I was referring to a bohemian chic look. Had NOTHING to do with race and NEVER would!!!"

According to the Wrap, Rancic's complete statement during taping was as follows, with the part in brackets edited out for 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."

The outlet cited an E! "insider" who said Griffin stepped on Rancic's lines before Rancic could add one about touring with the Grateful Dead, which would have cemented a hippie sentiment rather than a racial one.

Rancic made an on-air apology to Coleman a day later, and Coleman ultimately accepted. However, Osbourne stepped down by week's end after insisting that she wouldn't be dragged into the controversy and reminding people that Zendaya was her friend.

Griffin said that when she stepped in for her "beloved friend" Rivers, who died in September, she was "was thrilled to continue her legacy as a woman being brash and eccentric on television."

"I hope to continue to make you all laugh performing live or on television where I can be smart, irreverent, unrepentant and unafraid in an observational way that is candid, honest and justified," she continued in her statement.

Following her announcement, the veteran comedienne received an outpouring of support from several outspoken celebrities, including former E! personalities Osbourne and Chelsea Handler.

"I could not be more proud of you @kathygriffin you have my love and support always!" her lavender-haired former co-host tweeted.

Handler, who left her E! talk show last year, wrote: "@kathygriffin way to go girl. Stick to your guns. Onwards and sideways. Lub you"

"Congrats to my beautiful friend Kathy Griffin for bravely saying enough is enough to intolerance of all kinds on television. She's modeling a better way for the youths," wrote "Girls" star and creator Lena Dunham on Instagram.

"My brave and courageous friend @kathygriffin You're one classy dame. Onward and upward," tweeted "Glee" star Jane Lynch.

"@kathygriffin you're so cool," wrote "The Mindy Project" creator and star Mindy Kaling.

In an interview with Chicago Sun-Times magazine posted online earlier this week, Griffin said she "wouldn't have said the joke in the first place" and that "some dude" wrote it for Rancic.

"Don't have anyone write your jokes or even suggest jokes for you on 'Fashion Police.' You have enough great insider gossip from actually being on the red carpet. That's what fans want to hear the next day. Just talk and be yourself," she said.

The funnywoman also said she's constantly being compared to Rivers rather than being judged on her own merits.

"Joan Rivers is no longer with us. I miss her far more than any angry tweeter! I’ve been dealing with the unique challenges that come with taking over a very specific role when someone has passed away," she told the mag. "I have done/will do my best to fill my own shoes. I’m no spring chicken, kids — I have a body of work myself that I stand by. To my knowledge, the current 'Fashion Police' team is, for the most part, the team that worked for Joan all those years. You cannot put a square peg in a round hole."

Griffin illuminated her approach to the show, signaling that there may have already been a dichotomy between her style and the show's creative direction.

"My approach to 'Fashion Police' is consistent with my approach to my decades of being a professional comic," she said. "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. 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. 

Follow me on Twitter @NardineSaad.

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