Whitney Houston's Estate Slams Jerrod Carmichael's Golden Globes Joke About Her Death

Jerrod Carmichael referenced Whitney Houston's death while hosting the 2023 Golden Globes, and her estate is upset. The comedian referenced Houston's tragic 2012 death during his opening monologue at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, which hosted the 80th annual awards show. "Alright you guys, we are back, we are pressed for time but they wanted me to shout out the venue we're in," said Carmichael after a commercial break. "So we are here, live, from the hotel that killed Whitney Houston, the Beverly Hilton, you guys—so uh, that's very exciting."

Houston's longtime manager and sister-in-law, Pat Houston, the sole executor of her estate, denounced the joke in a statement to TMZ:  "The Whitney Houston Estate is disappointed in the joke and felt it was in poor taste."

On Feb. 11, 2012, Houston was found unconscious in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton. Her death at 48 was attributed to drowning, atherosclerosis, and cocaine abuse, per the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.  Sources familiar with the Golden Globes' production team told TMZ Carmichael did not alert the Houston estate about the joke, and it remains unclear whether he notified NBC.

Although Carmichael failed to win over many people with his comment about the late Grammy winner, the 35-year-old received praise for his remark about the lack of diversity in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. "I'm here because I'm black," he told an audience full of stars. "This show, the Golden Globe Awards, did not air last year because the Hollywood Foreign Press Association — which I won't say they were a racist organization — but they didn't have a single black member until George Floyd died," he added. "So do with that information what you will." 

There was no doubt that Carmichael had some controversial moments, another being when he spoke about Shelly Miscavige, a high-ranking Scientologist who has been out of the public eye for a number of years. A further transitional moment occurred when Carmichael appeared onstage carrying three trophies and joked that they were the ones that Tom Cruise had returned to the Hollywood Foreign Press following their public scandals in 2020.

"I have a pitch," Carmichael said. "I think maybe we take these three things and exchange them for the safe return of Shelly Miscavige." Sheila Miscavige, the wife of Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige, has been notoriously missing from the public eye for years, and her whereabouts and physical condition are unknown to the public.