In 2015, Giuliana Rancic commented on Zendaya's red carpet locs while hosting "Fashion Police" & was fired
It was the pop culture moment heard around the world back in 2015 during an episode of E!'s Fashion Police when host Giuliana Rancic made a comment about Zendaya's hair on the Academy Awards red carpet. The then-18-year-old actress decided to wear her hair in locs to celebrate diversity on the red carpet, but Rancic remarked that Zendaya looks as if "she smells like patchouli oil or weed." Zendaya and her Malcolm and Marie co-star John david Washington recently posed for W Magazine's cover feature, and inside, the actress revisited the incident.
Soon after Rancic's remarks went viral, Mattel created a Barbie doll for Zendaya, sporting the same locs that were criticized. “That’s how change happens,” Zendaya shared with W. “And it made me think, How could I always have a lasting impact on what people saw and associated with people of color?”
It's a sentiment that echos Zendaya's initial response back in 2015 when she took to Instagram to say, "There is already a 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... 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. I don’t usually feel the need to respond to negative things but certain remarks cannot go unchecked.”
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Rancic exited her Fashion Police position following the remarks but later spoke out about it, claiming that it was edited incorrectly. "You know, I made a reference to the hippie culture," Rancic told Today back in 2015. "I talked about patchouli oil, which is a hippie perfume. And in the editing process, some of the gestures I made, some of the things I said were taken out for time. I made peace signs, I said 'bohemian' twice — those were taken out for time. So when the joke aired, some people were offended by it."
Rancic was later rehired by E!. Check out photos from Zendaya and John David Malcolm's cover feature with W Magazine below.