The E! host’s barb that the dreadlocked actress/singer looked like she would smell “of patchouli oil or weed” sparked outrage from Zandaya’s fans, who called the jab racist. And while Zendaya herself, who had been a Fashion Police guest host, was also angered by the comment, it was co-host Kelly who went ballistic. “I’m seriously questioning staying on the show,” she tweeted during a weeklong rant about the scandal.
Even after Giuliana apologized — twice — and Zendaya herself said she was ready to move on, Kelly wasn’t. Sources say she was still “stirring up drama” behind the scenes until E! announced that Kelly was leaving the series.
But Star can reveal that Kelly’s exit wasn’t by choice. An E! insider claims she was given the option to quit or be fired, while another source says the network was over her never-ending issues: “The producers had had enough.”
And so, it seems, have viewers. The once hot series has seen a serious slide in popularity since the death of host Joan Rivers. “Joan could pull off remarks like that; Giuliana can’t,” explains an insider. “She’s not funny. No one can really fill Joan’s shoes. The show is in serious trouble.”
Indeed, fans haven’t warmed to Joan’s replacement, Kathy Griffin. “Kathy is boring and her jokes are off — and honestly, she doesn’t have a lick of fashion sense,” says the source, adding that Kathy encouraged the Zendaya joke, which only further divided Kelly from the rest of the cast.
But sources tell Star that producers may have been keen on getting Kelly out long before “Dreadgate.” Rumors have swirled that Kelly has been a nightmare to work with since Joan’s passing and execs are considering replacing her with Khloe Kardashian. “Khloe is definitely interested and producers believe that she has the sass and fan base to bring new viewers to the show,” shares a tipster. “Kelly is fuming over this. She’d never admit it, but the buzz surrounding Khloe coming on board makes her wonder if E! was just waiting for a reason to push her out.”