Joan Rivers has been purposefully offending audiences for decades, in the tradition of fellow shock comics like Lenny Bruce and Don Rickles.
Only now when she successfully provokes a reaction it usually comes from a special interest group, not her ticket-buying audience.
Rivers, who is Jewish, lobbed a lame joke at Heidi Klum's sense of fashion Sunday during the Oscars festivities, quipping, "The last time a German looked this hot was when they were pushing Jews into the ovens.”
Enter the Anti-Defamation League:
Of all people, Joan Rivers should know better. This remark is so vulgar and offensive to Jews and Holocaust survivors, and indeed to all Americans, that we cannot believe it made it to the airwaves. Making it worse, not 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. Almost as bad as her original comment is the fact that she sat there doubled over with laughter after saying it.
There are certain things about the Holocaust that should be taboo. 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 six 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.
The group requested E! to have Rivers issue an apology and to edit the joke out of future broadcasts.
UPDATE: Rivers isn't in an apologetic mood according to 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."