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No one was more surprised at the Giuliana Ranic-Zendaya Fashion Police drama than the E! News anchor herself.
"I read her statement and I was shocked," the 40-year-old TV host said. "I made [the joke] as a reference to the hippie culture. It was a bohemian-chic reference, not about race, nor would it ever be. It was horrifying to have my name in a headline with words I have never been associated with in my life."
To recap, Rancic commented that Zendaya Coleman, who sported dreadlocks to the Oscars, probably smelled of "patchouli oil and weed." The singer and actress was offended and fired back.
"To say that an 18-year-old young woman with locs must smell of patchouli oil or 'weed' is not only a large stereotype but outrageously offensive," Coleman responded. "I don't usually feel the need to respond to negative things but certain remarks cannot go unchecked… 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."
In the days that followed, many stories surfaced online as to how that joke ended up on air in the first place. Us Weekly alleged that Kelly Osbourne — who later quit the show — tried to stop Rancic from telling the joke, which was taped three times. Meanwhile, Access Hollywood's Billy Bush defended Rancic, calling the story BS. He said someone else wrote the joke and it was only taped once.
So what does Giuliana have to say? Blame the editing, for starters.
"On set, I made peace signs and I said boho twice," she told the magazine, adding she did not write the joke. "It was edited. And my words were taken out of context. If I thought this joke could be interpreted another way, I never would have done it. I felt horrible."
Rancic also claims that no one (cough, Kelly?) voiced concerns during the taping and that the joke was done in one take.
"There were about 50 sets of eyeballs on set that day," she noted, "and not one person thought that it had the undertones that it ended up having once it aired because they heard it in context."
After the show aired, the E! personality claims she immediately started getting death threats: "People were sending me pictures of the barrel of a gun saying, 'I'm going to kill your family.' It was awful."
Rancic continued, "It was a very unfortunate incident… I'm so regretful that people interpreted the joke [as they did]. I hurt people and I feel terrible about that. And I learned a really important lesson that if people are offended, it doesn't matter the intent."
So where does the show go from here? Osbourne wasn't the only one who resigned in the wake of the controversy. Kathy Griffin, who stepped in to fill Joan Rivers's seat, quit too.
"[The show] without Joan was difficult from episode one," Rancic admitted. "There were just all sorts of problems. I really believe it was only a matter of time before that specific show with that cast and that format fell apart."
However, E! has said the show will go on. As for who will fill the two open seats, that remains to be seen. NeNe Leakes, Khloé Kardashian, and Naya Rivera have been rumored to be contenders.