The FBI investigated two threats made against the late Joan Rivers, according to documents released by the agency.
The comedienne, who did not shy away from inflammatory jokes during her nearly five-decade career, has a federal record of at least one enemy she made in 1973.
During a set of performances at the Deauville Beach Resort in Miami, Rivers apparently incorporated a crack about Polish culture or people into her routine.
“Perhaps … I can teach you the difference between a joke and an assault on human dignity and decency,” the Western Union telegram reads. “My people will no longer sit back supinely while a human cesspool spews her dirt on them. And for a Jewess you should know better.”
The jokes, the telegram says, “managed not only to ruin my Christmas holidays,” but also caused the author to “lose 10 days of sorely needed vacation” so that he or she could return to Miami and “put a stop” to the routine.
Rivers also received threatening phone calls about the jokes, documents say.
However, when FBI agents interviewed her at the hotel, they notified her that none of the communications violated any federal laws, since the phone calls were considered a local matter.
The FBI recorded the incident “in view of Rivers’ prominence as [a] public entertainer,” it said.
“It was noted that Rivers has hired off-duty Miami Beach PD patrolmen to stand guard at the entrance to her suite,” the FBI wrote at the time.
The Miami Beach Police Department also fielded calls from the suspect, who threatened to blow up the hotel during Rivers’s performance. At one point, however, the caller asked where the resort was, hesitated and hung up.
It’s unclear what the content of the joke was, but Rivers had forged a profession making light of controversial topics, including the Holocaust, which might have been the theme of the jokes that caused the threats.
Forty years later, in 2013, Rivers made just such a joke, when talking about a dress that model Heidi Klum wore on the Academy Awards red carpet.
"The last time a German looked this hot was when they were pushing Jews into the ovens," Rivers said during the show “Fashion Police" on E!
In trademark style, she refused to apologize when pressed by the Anti-Defamation League.
“It's a joke No. 1. No. 2 it is about the Holocaust,” she said. “This is the way I remind people about the Holocaust. I do it through humor.”
She added that people should focus on individuals with actual anti-Semitic views — something that Rivers, who is Jewish, also faced, according to her FBI file.
Someone, who dubbed himself Mr. Clean, sent a series of homophobic and anti-Semitic-tinged letters to Rivers in 1991, saying his killing her would start a “movement.”
“Others will then be able to follow the path that I started and complete my mission of righteousness,” one letter reads.
Another said: “I am looking for just the right time and place to destroy you and your Jew Humor.”
Rivers, who was 81, died in September following complications from a minor surgery.
Tags Joan Rivers