I used to think Joan Rivers was funny.
Now she turns my stomach.
Let me tell you.
During an April 22 appearance on NBC's "Today" show, the comedienne was discussing a reality show she stars in with her daughter Melissa.
Rivers was commenting on the lack of space in her daughter's guest room when she quipped "those women in the basement in Cleveland had more space."
Rivers was referring to Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight who were held in the basement of Ariel Castro's home for more than a decade, before escaping last year.
The next day attorneys for Berry and DeJesus released a statement calling the remarks hurtful and asked for an apology.
When wrong, apologize, right?
Not if your name is Joan Rivers.
Rivers was given the chance to save face and repair the damage when contacted by TMZ and asked about issuing an apology.
"They got to live rent free for more than a decade," Rivers reportedly told the entertainment gossip site.
OK. All over, right?
It gets worse.
On April 23, when contacted by The Plain Dealer, Rivers said, "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."
I must have missed the news headline when Rivers was taken from her family, chained in a basement, beaten and repeatedly raped.
It must have happened because Rivers said "I know what those girls went through."
Maybe I was sleeping when the local stations reported how Rivers gave birth to a child fathered by Castro and suffered five miscarriages due to beatings and starvation.
It must have happened because Rivers said "I know what those girls went through." Perhaps in a later interview Rivers will tell us how she was assaulted with a vacuum cord around her neck after trying to escape.
It must have happened, right?
You get the picture.
I'm a fan of comedy and love to laugh.
My tastes run from Don Rickles and Jackie Mason to Jonathan Winters, Robin Williams and Bill Cosby.
However, I tend not to find rape, abortions and torture funny.
Help me out.
Am I too sensitive here?
I remember when DeJesus went missing. I reported on it for our former sister paper in Maple Heights. And, I remember the elation I felt when the girls were found.
Perhaps being from Ohio and having young nieces, I feel protective of the three women.
And I don't think I'm alone.
I don't think I'm alone in my feelings toward Rivers, either.
Visitors to her Facebook page are not shy about their feelings, using some pretty intense verbiage to bash Rivers. Twitter has exploded with feedback and talk shows have been covering the continuing saga.
Rivers also has several supporters who say "it was only a joke."
Now Rivers is the joke.
Like I said, I used to enjoy some of Rivers' comedy.
I don't want to see her face or hear her voice.
I can't tell the three women how sorry I am for their lost decade, nor can I tell the unborn children how heartbroken I felt.
However, I can show them support by removing Rivers from my life.
In fairness, Rivers did tell the Plain Dealer that she was glad the women are OK and that she hopes they have "productive" and "joyful lives."
Awww. Touching, Joan.
However, Rivers also told the paper that the three women are "free, so let's move on.''
I kind of thought that's what the women were trying to do.
Of course I don't know, but it must be tough to move on when asinine people appear on nationally broadcast shows and try to make themselves feel better by making light of 10 years of pure hell living in a house of horrors.
Maybe we could ask Joan?
She does "know what those girls went through."