Rosie O’Donnell says Kelly Ripa is a homophobe.
Recently, singer Clay Aiken substituted for host Regis Philbin, co-hosting with Ripa on Live with Regis & Kelly, a show I don’t watch. At some point during an interview, Aiken apparently felt that Ripa was monopolizing the interview, and he put his hand over her mouth so he could attempt to get a word in edgewise.
Ripa, apparently, was not as amused as the audience. She chastised him for the gesture, saying that you just don’t do that, and adding that she didn’t know where that hand has been.
That’s all it took for O’Donnell to accuse Ripa of being a homophobe on The View, another show I do not watch.
Ripa, it turns out, was no more amused at O’Donnell’s statement than she was at Aiken’s gesture, so she called in to throw out her two cents. She claimed that her remark about not knowing where Aiken’s hand had been referred to the fact that it was flu season and that he spent time shaking hands with the audience, and possibly picking up loads of germs.
O’Donnell, who long ago acknowledged that she is a homosexual, said that to her, Ripa could only have been homophobic, since she obviously thinks Aiken, who refuses to answer questions about his sexual orientation, must be gay. Regardless of what Ripa meant, O’Donnell interpreted it one way and one way only, and before bothering to ask, she decided to go on national television and make her point.
Of the three primary players in this little drama, O’Donnell, when she isn’t being so militant, is by far my favorite. But her interpretation of Kelly’s remarks here reminds me of several racial controversies, in which someone of a different race hears something and assumes it must be about race, whether it is or isn’t.
An example would be the subject of the “Old South” I mentioned recently. If someone who is white has anything remotely positive to say about something dating back before the civil rights movement, some blacks are quick to assume that those whites must be in favor of slavery. One can only mean the other. No other interpretations seem possible.
I’ve seen plenty of stories about the germs people pick up on a daily basis, even when they’re not shaking hands with 300 strangers. One can only imagine what a hand-shaker might pick up from hundreds of people in an audience. Then again, that’s not the point.
The point is that someone who is gay, made an assumption that someone who isn’t gay must be a homophobe because she didn’t want the hand of someone who might be gay covering her mouth.
So I have to wonder what it might take for Kelly to redeem herself for people who agree with Rosie. If she brings in a line of gay guys who are willing to acknowledge that they are gay, give each one a nice dousing with that waterless antibacterial soap, and then let each one take turns covering her mouth with their hands for thirty seconds each, would that do it?
There was a contestant on Deal or No Deal a while back who acted as if he might be gay. Host Howie Mandell, who is an admitted heterosexual germophobe, didn’t shake hands with him. Even though he doesn’t shake hands with anyone else, choosing instead to do that annoying knuckle-touching thing, is the fact that he didn’t make a greater effort with the possibly-gay guy a sign that he’s a homophobe?
Some of you might say that it would be wrong to assume that a man who behaves somewhat effiminately could even possibly be homosexual, since some homosexuals don’t “act gay” at all. And you’d be 100% correct. Then again, the basis of Rosie’s accusations against Kelly are based on her assumption that Aiken must be gay. And unless he told her something he isn’t telling anyone else, she’s basing that assumption on his demeanor.
There’s something wrong with this picture.