Giuliana Rancic received death threats over her comments on 'Fashion Police'.
The 40-year-old TV presenter has revealed she was swamped with abusive messages after stating singer Zendaya Coleman's dreadlocks looked like they smelt like "patchouli oil ... or maybe weed", while hosting the E! show at this year's Oscars.
She said: "It was a very unfortunate incident. I'm so regretful that people interpreted the joke [as they did]. I hurt people and I feel terrible about that. And I learned a really important lesson that if people are offended, it doesn't matter the intent.
"I started very quickly getting death threats. People were sending me pictures of the barrel of a gun saying, 'I'm going to kill your family.' It was awful."
Giuliana insists her comments were taken out of context and was shocked when she read a statement in which Zendaya branded her words "ignorant slurs".
She said: "I read her statement and I was shocked. I made [the joke] as a reference to the hippie culture. It was a bohemian-chic reference, not about race, nor would it ever be. It was horrifying to have my name in a headline with words I have never been associated with in my life."
Giuliana's co-hosts Kelly Osbourne and Kathy Griffin have since resigned over the controversy, but the brunette beauty insists the show's line up had been doomed to fail after Kathy replaced late star Joan Rivers following her death in September.
She told PEOPLE: "[The show] without Joan was difficult from episode one.
"There were just all sorts of problems. I really believe it was only a matter of time before that specific show with that cast and that format fell apart."
'Fashion Police' has since been put on hiatus with E! making the decision to take the TV show off air to "refresh" it following the departures.