As a host on E!’s Fashion Police, Giuliana Rancic analyses and critiques celebrities on the red carpet. The critics on the show are not known for being particularly nice when discussing the stars, but Rancic recently got into trouble after her comments about Disney teen star Zendaya’s hair at the Oscars came off as racist.
“I feel like she smells of patchouli oil, or ‘weed,’” she said of Zendaya’s dreadlocks in the Fashion Police post-Oscars special. Needless to say, angry fans took to Twitter and other social media platforms to condemn the host, and Zendaya responded on her own Twitter page. “There is already harsh criticism of African American hair in society without the help of ignorant people who choose to judge others based on the curl of their hair,” she wrote.
Rancic apologised for her comments on E! the next day, saying that “Fashion Police is a show that pokes fun at celebrities in good spirit, but I do realize that something I said last night did cross the line”. There is a difference between “poking fun” and perpetuating racist stereotypes, and the incident did not reflect well on the show or its network.
But like any television personality, Rancic herself is not safe from the harsh media critics. The media has long criticised her for being too thin, and she has been the target of so-called “skinny shaming,” negative comments relating to her slim figure as well as her public fertility struggles. Rancic usually dismisses the comments, and recently said that “the best thing to do, honestly, is not even talk about it.”
Her comments might seem like Rancic is ignoring the situation, but whether or not she openly discusses her body is her own choice. Though Rancic herself scrutinizes others for a living, criticising someone for their body size is never right. Rancic’s job on Fashion Police is to comment on the style choices of celebrities: what they put on their body, not their body size.
The current fate of Fashion Police itself is uncertain. Rancic’s co-hosts Kathy Griffin and Kelly Osbourne have announced that they are leaving the show, and E! has postponed any new episodes until September.