Joan Rivers Infuriates Anti-Defamation League With 'Pushing Jews Into Ovens' Joke

2:59 PM PST 02/27/2013 by Seth Abramovitch
Dee Cercone/Everett Collection/Newscom

The anti-Semitism watchdog group calls a comment about Heidi Klum "vulgar and offensive."

Joan Rivers is facing harsh criticism from the Anti-Defamation League over a joke she made about Project Runway host Heidi Klum on Monday's episode of E!'s Fashion Police.

After observing the German-born model in a flattering dress, Rivers said, "The last time a German looked this hot was when they were pushing Jews into the ovens.”

A statement issued on Wednesday by ADL director Abraham H. Foxman, a Holocaust survivor, calls the remark "vulgar and offensive to Jews and Holocaust survivors, and indeed to all Americans."

"There are certain things about the Holocaust that should be taboo," Foxman continues. "This is especially true for Jews, for whom the Holocaust is still a deeply painful memory. It is vulgar and offensive for anybody to use the death of 6 million Jews and millions of others in the Holocaust to make a joke, but this is especially true for someone who is Jewish and who proudly and publicly wears her Jewishness on her sleeve."

Also criticized are Rivers' Fashion Police co-hosts Giuliana Rancic, Kelly Osborne and George Kotsiopoulos, whom the statement says were "doubled over with laughter" after she made the joke.

"[N]ot one of her co-hosts made any effort to respond or to condemn this hideous statement, leaving it hanging out there and giving it added legitimacy through their silence," the statement reads.

The ADL also has sent a letter to E! Entertainment Television president Suzanne Kolb demanding Rivers issue a formal apology.

In August, the ADL took a similar stance against the comedian after she likened Costco's refusal to carry her new book to "Nazi Germany."

"Shut the f--- up,” was her response.

Rivers appeared on Late Show with David Letterman on Tuesday where she made several jokes at Adele's expense.

Reached for comment, Rivers tells The Hollywood Reporter, "My husband lost the majority of his family at Auschwitz and I can assure you that I have always made it a point to remind people of the Holocaust through humor."

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