George Kotsiopoulos believes that Giuliana Rancic should take responsibility for her words.
“To not own up to what you said and to blame it on others is just a little messed up,” Kotsiopoulos said Wednesday in Chicago, where he was hosting the grand opening of a new Torrid clothing store.
The Fashion Police host became embroiled in controversy in February after she said during an Oscars recap show that actress and singer Zendaya, with her hair styled in dreadlocks, probably smelled like "patchouli oil and weed." A firestorm erupted, with Zendaya calling the comments “ignorant slurs.”
Rancic has since apologized, though she has insisted she didn’t write the joke and that her comments were taken out of context and that she was referring to the bohemian culture. “I thought that the joke was not edited in the proper way, and that’s just something I have to live with,” she said during a segment on the Today show on Monday. “It wasn’t a live show; it was taped. We had several hours to fix it. The editors, the producers, no one saw anything wrong because when they heard the joke, it was truly a joke about the hippie culture.”
He told PEOPLE that during his time on the show, no one wrote any lines for him. “I was never scripted,” he said. “What I said were my own words, was my own opinion.” He added that he was close with former co-host Kelly Osbourne, and that “she never had a writer” either.
He said he still talks frequently with Osbourne, but hasn’t spoken to Rancic since the memorial service for Rivers, who died in September.
Since then, Fashion Police has been in flux. After the Rancic dustup, co-hosts Osbourne and Kathy Griffin quit, and the show – which was scheduled to return in March – has been postponed until September.