Giuliana Rancic apologized on-air Tuesday to Zendaya for a comment she made on “Fashion Police” the day prior about the dreadlocked hairstyle the 18-year-old wore to the Oscars.
“Something I said last night crossed the line,” Rancic said, after noting that the show “pokes fun at celebrities in good spirit.”
The line crosser? After noting the heaviness of Zendaya’s hairstyle in comparison to her recent pixie cut, she’d continued: “I feel like she smells like patchouli oil or weed. Maybe weed.”
Zendaya posted a statement hours after the show aired, calling the comment “not only a large stereotype but outrageously offensive” and “disrespectful.” She then listed a number of successful, respected African Americans who wear locs.
“I just want everyone to know, I didn’t intend to hurt anyone,” Rancic said, “but I’ve learned it is not my intent that matters, it’s the result. And the result is that people are offended, including Zendaya, and that is not OK.”
She said she was “so, so sincerely sorry” to the “Dancing With the Stars” runner-up and anyone else who’d been offended.
“This really has been a learning experience for me,” Rancic said. “I’ve learned a lot today and this incident has taught me to be a lot more aware of cliches and stereotypes, how much damage they can do. And that I am responsible as we all are to not perpetuate them further.”
The E! red carpet correspondent had previously apologized, but in fewer than 140 characters, tweeting about an hour after Zendaya’s statement was posted, “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!!!”
On Tuesday afternoon, “Fashion Police” colleague Kelly Osbourne, who’s friends with Zendaya, put out an ultimatum, saying that “everyone involved” had 24 hours to “make it right” or the world would hear what she really thought. She also said she was seriously questioning staying on the show.
Early Tuesday evening, Osbourne had not updated her Twitter page with any comment about Rancic’s second apology.
Zendaya’s statement did more than express her offense. She also explained her choice of hairstyle at Sunday night’s award show.
“My wearing my hair in locs on an Oscar red carpet was to showcase them in a positive light, to remind people of color that our hair is good enough,” she wrote. “To me locs are a symbol of strength and beauty, almost like a lion’s mane.”
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