Police were called to a Los Angeles-area Costco on Tuesday after Joan Rivers staged a protest against the wholesale store, which she says has banned her new book.
The 79-year-old outspoken comedienne, reality star and co-host of the E! show "Fashion Police" wore sunglasses and held a megaphone as she stood inside an outlet in Burbank, signing copies of the publication. An officer was seen gesturing for her to leave. She later exited the store.
"Joan Rivers made an unannounced in-store appearance that was not cleared through Costco management," a police spokesperson said in a statement obtained by OnTheRedCarpet.com. "Costco asked Burbank PD to assist by asking Rivers to go outside. Rivers complied and she left. No criminal action [was taken]. We're told she had an entourage with her, including a camera crew ... and it appeared to be a staged event."
Rivers' book "I Hate Everything ... Starting With Me," was released in June and contains expletives and racy language. A rep for Costco had no immediate comment about whether the wholesale stores sell it or any of the comedienne's other products.
"My book has been banned from Costco," Rivers told KABC Television, OnTheRedCarpet.com's parent company, via phone. "On the back I have two [fake] quotes, one from Marie Antoinette, 'Let her eat (expletive),' and the other from Wilt Chamberlain, 'Even If I were alive, I wouldn't (expletive) her.' Costco, who sells condoms by the pallet, Paula Deen books, not good for health ... decided to ban my book."
"This is America. I don't want to see censorship. This is not Munich 1933.. I'm not accusing them of being anti-Semitic, but in their book section I did not see 'The Diary of Anne Frank,'" the comedienne, who is Jewish, said, adding: "You're banning a book because it has a funny quote, where will this lead us?"
A Los Angeles resident, Larry Grossman, told KABC Television that he noticed Rivers standing outside the store, selling copies of her book, signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans. He said he was inside the building for about 10 minutes and heard a commotion near the front door.
"I saw that she was standing over there and I guess somebody who was working for her was waving her book around saying 'First Amendment rights, we have a right to be here,' he added.
Twitter pictures taken by witnesses showed her standing outside the store alongside several people and tables displaying copies of her book as a cameraman filmed the scene. One photo showed her standing next to a police officer.
"Just saw Joan Rivers telling Costco to "(expletive) themselves" for not selling her book. In front of Costco #truestory," Tweeted a witness.Additional reporting by George Pennacchio of KABC Television, which produces the entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).