March 17, 1998

Joan Rivers
c/o Richard Grant and Associates
2576 Bay Pointe Dr.
Weston, FL 33327

Dear Joan:

Oh Joan! Can we talk? (Sorry--just had to say/write it!) What an incredible woman you are!! You have overcome such tragic circumstances in your life and managed to not only come out smiling, but you've come out making other people laugh. What a wonderful gift to possess and share. Thank you for sharing it, and for sharing yours and Melissa's heartaches with the world in an effort to help others deal with losses like your own.

Because of your fame and popularity, and because you are setting a standard in fashion for the Hollywood community in your own mirthful way on E!, I felt compelled to write you about a tragic situation that is no laughing matter and involves fashion. Joan, I would like to be able to award you (metaphorically speaking) a golden hanger humanitarian award. I would like to, but right now I can't. You see, I recently learned that you support fur as a fashion.

"Perhaps," I thought to myself, "she doesn't realize the great cruelty that goes into such a fashion statement." I thought that maybe if you did--you would choose a different statement to make, at least with your own personal attire, since no one would expect you to go on E! or your radio show and publicly denounce fur (though that would, indeed, be a wonderful thing).

I hope you will take just a couple brief minutes of your time to read the attached article about how fur is "farmed." Then, you might want to join the ranks of top designers Calvin Klein, Bill Blass, Giorgio Armani, Carolina Herrera, and Oleg Cassini (who have stopped using fur in their lines) and some of your peers such as Cindy Crawford, Alec Baldwin, Paul and Linda McCartney, Christy Turlington, Claudia Schiffer, and Cindy Crawford (no longer work with or wear fur).

By the way, I was shocked to read that you were sprayed with red paint while wearing a fur coat. I, too, am impassioned about my belief that animals should not be used as garments in a day and age when so many wonderful alternative fabrics are available, but I'd rather throw words and information than paint to get the message across--and I hope this article will do just that.

I thank you for taking the time to read my letter and this article. I hope you will find it informative, decide with compassion over fashion, and alleviate the suffering and tragedy that fills these small creatures' short lives by not wearing or endorsing "fur for the sake of fashion." Such beautiful, elegant coats--why not leave them with their original owners? [Who wants a hand-me-down anyway?!]

Leigh-Anne Dennison

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