Joan Rivers is not one to hold back on her opinions, but her latest comments about President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama may trump any of her past controversial remarks. According to a report by the Hollywood Reporter Thursdays, the comedienne, talk show host and self-proclaimed fashion expert told a reporter that Obama is gay and his wife is “a transgender.”
What sparked the comments from the 81-year-old Rivers? Well, during an appearance at a bookstore in New York City on Monday, a reporter asked Rivers whether the U.S. will ever see a gay president. She responded, “We already have it with Obama, so let’s just calm down.”
Rivers had just finished officiating an impromptu gay wedding between two of her fans, but her comments quickly overshadowed the same-sex marriage she performed. To spark further controversy, Rivers had something to say about Michelle Obama. She added, “You know Michelle is a tranny.” The comment caught the reporter by surprise. Then she clarified her remark saying, “A transgender. We all know.”
Obama has been referenced as the nations “first gay president” before, but because of the advances he has made for LGBT rights during his two terms as president. Back in May 2012, Obama made history by becoming the first U.S. president to publicly announce his support of same-sex marriage. Calling Obama gay is nothing new, but Rivers will receive most of the backlash coming her way with her transphobic slur aimed at Michelle. Although Rivers was apparently joking, it is a joke that is lacking humor and may have lost her some point with the same devoted LGBT fan base she has recently credited.
The liberal-minded comedian told the Advocate back in May, “My gay fans have been wonderful from day one. I remember when I was working at the Duplex in Greenwich Village in New York at the beginning of my career and the only ones who would laugh at my jokes were the gay guys. I think if I had started out in straight clubs and bars I never would’ve gotten anywhere.”
Rivers also acknowledged in the interview how many drag queens impersonating her over the years. As a woman who prides herself on being an ally of the LGBT community, the direction of the comments Rivers made, even in a joking manner, are viewed as surprising and disappointing.