Did Joan Rivers Pick a Fight With Elizabeth Taylor After Her Death?

Who started campaigning for AIDS first and why the diva feud is still on!

By Ted Casablanca, Aly Weisman Apr 05, 2011 10:42 AMTags
Elizabeth Taylor, Joan RiversBarry Sweet/ZUMAPress.com; AP Photo/Charles Sykes

In death, as in life, it appears Joan Rivers just can't let Elizabeth Taylor have the last word. 

Rivers had famously (although infamously might be a better word here) poked fun at Taylor's yo-yoing weight over the years. Just one example? "Elizabeth Taylor is so fat she puts mayonnaise on aspirin!"

This was in spite of the fact that both women were absolutely united in their fight against AIDS.

But who started campaigning for AIDS awareness first? And why is it even an issue?

Following Taylor's passing last week, Rivers tweeted, "Sad to hear of Elizabeth Taylor's death. She was the 1st major celebrity to join me in the fight against AIDS when it wasn't a popular cause."

If we're not mistaken, both broads started campaigning around the same time.

So let's tally this up now, shall we?

Rivers has performed for countless AIDS fundraising events since the early 1980s and even donated her $125,000 Celebrity Apprentice winnings to God's Love We Deliver, an organization that provides healthy meals to homebound New York City residents with AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses, where Rivers has been a board member for the past 15 years.

Meanwhile, Taylor established the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation in 1991 to raise funding to provide services for HIV positive people and served as the Founding International Chairman for the American Foundation for AIDS Research. She also started bravely bitching about a lack of AIDS concern after her good friend Rock Hudson died in 1985. Elizabeth absolutely helped put that taboo on the celebrity map very early on.

Even Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese issued a statement after Taylor's passing that said, "She was one of the first public voices to speak up about the AIDS crisis while many others stayed silent in the 1980s, and she helped raise millions of dollars to fight the disease."

But Rivers is running strong and refuses to let people believe Taylor beat her to the punch on anything. So is this just a case of jealous Joan?

A rep for Rivers tells Team Truth, "Elizabeth joined Joan in the fight against AIDS—not the other way around." 

Wow. Why is the distinction even necessary to point out, at this late juncture?

We've tried to get Joan on the phone, and we're told she's anxious to speak to us about it.

You'll hear as soon as we do.