Clay Aiken | Rosie O'Donnell | Television

Homophobia on Morning TV: Rosie vs. Kelly vs. Clay

Yesterday, Clay Aiken co-hosted Regis & Kelly to fill in for Regis. At one point, Clay reached up and covered Kelly Ripa's mouth with his hand (see left video) while she was asking the Dancing with the Stars winners Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke a question.

Obviously miffed, Ripa looked at Clay and said, "That's a 'No, No'. I don't know where that hand's been, honey."

Rosie O'Donnell responded to the incident by accusing Ripa of making a homophobic remark. Ripa called Rosie on The View (right video) to defend herself, saying it's flu season and that's why she made the remark.

Ripa has every right to be pissed about Clay's hand over her mouth. But she says she wasn't insinuating that Clay had his fingers up a man's heiney, which for gays and lesbians like Rosie, attuned to homophobic remarks, is what it may have sounded like.

Of course the real elephant in the room here is all the backing away from Aiken's sexuality.

Homophobia is a no, no on morning talk shows, according to the hosts involved here.

But the greater homophobia is the insinuation that asking Aiken even to address the rumors regarding his sexuality is a horrible thing despite the fact that these hosts ask heterosexual stars all the time whether certain dating rumors are true or not. Clay's perfectly welcome to deny and capable of denying any and all rumors.

The implication is that it's not right to ask possibly gay stars about their private lives (even though heterosexual stars are questioned all the time) because being gay is a bad thing.

I applaud Rosie for calling Ripa out on her comment whether or not Ripa was insinuating Aiken was gay, but Rosie should know better than to then go and defend the View's supposedly righteous policy of not asking Clay about the sexuality rumors when I've seen them sit down and ask Jessica Simpson point blank whether or not the tabloid stories were true that she's dating John Mayer. After all, suggesting that Ripa was behaving homophobically is Rosie's tacit acknowledgement that Clay is gay anyway, isn't it?

I enjoy both Ripa and Rosie, and I doubt Ripa is homophobic, but this incident certainly added an undercurrent to the talk shows I haven't seen in a while. Below, Ripa discusses the incident with Regis.

(thanks to Good as You for the clips)

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  1. Sic 'em, Leland.

    Posted by: JT | Nov 21, 2006 1:53:58 PM

  2. Honestly, I have to disagree with Rosie on this one. He put his entire hand over her mouth, and quite frankly I most likely would have said the same thing. She was joking. Rosie needs to lighten up there. I don't agree with her point, although you never know...

    Posted by: Cory | Nov 21, 2006 1:54:58 PM

  3. I love that you used the word "heiney."

    Posted by: dave | Nov 21, 2006 1:56:55 PM

  4. I don't think its homophobic. He had it off with a hooker (pornstar... whatever) I wouldn't want his hand on my mouth. Do any of you that read this blog think you could sit through an entire morning show with him and not make one catty comment about his sex life? I know I couldn't. Espically after him doing something as rude as that.

    Posted by: Barry | Nov 21, 2006 1:56:57 PM

  5. Pff, I'm pretty sure I'd slap away anyone's hand going for my mouth.

    Posted by: karashi | Nov 21, 2006 2:01:19 PM

  6. I love Rosie, but I have to disagree with her.

    I wouldn't want a man or a woman touching my mouth unless said man was my lover.

    Flu seaseon, most men do NOT wash their hands after using the bathroom, etc.

    Ripa should have gone at it from the perspective of a man trying to shut a woman up by physical means. That would have then painted her as the victim in our male dominated society.

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Nov 21, 2006 2:02:30 PM

  7. Rosie has lost what is left of her mind. Since coming out of the closet she has become very paranoid about homosexual issues. And I for one am really tired of having her represent the agenda in any way. She is a nut!

    Posted by: nutso | Nov 21, 2006 2:04:41 PM

  8. Seriously? That is a huge stretch to turn that into a homophobic remark. I think Rosie is being a bit too defensive on this one.

    Posted by: MT | Nov 21, 2006 2:05:43 PM

  9. I've watched the clip several times now, and the way Kelly says "I don't know where that hand's been, HONEY" (emphasis mine) is, I bet, where Rosie picked up on the homophobia. It was the "honey" to a gay man that did it, the tone of how she said it, in a tone gay men might talk to each other. Can't anyone else see (hear?) this? It's not the worst crime in the world and I don't think Kelly is homophobic, but at that particular moment I can see exactly what Rosie saw. Is it worth all the attention? I think probably not.

    Posted by: phil | Nov 21, 2006 2:06:04 PM

  10. This is ridiculous. Gay or straight, you don't do that. Terrible things happen each day to gays, and Rosie chooses THIS as a reason to cry homophobia on a crowded talk show? It's not a gay slur to wonder where someone's hand has been. Ridiculous.

    Posted by: Kevin | Nov 21, 2006 2:09:57 PM

  11. Totally disagree with Rosie. Clay was way out of line. He was visibly uncomfortable and awkward as co-host, and perhaps put his hand over Kelly's mouth as a lame attempt at humor. Totally inappropriate and disrespectful. I am beginning to see Clay as very creepy.

    For Rosie to say this was homophobic implies that Clay is a homosexual, plain and simple.

    Personally, I think Rosie, Clay, and Kelly are all a bit messed up.

    PS What was with Clay swooshing his hair like a stuck-up beauty queen. For goodness sakes, his fans -still- think he's straight?

    Posted by: Ian | Nov 21, 2006 2:12:14 PM

  12. I have to agree with Phil. Her COMMENT was homophobic, not her anger at being touched.

    I have to say, in my life it has been the snide comments of WOMEN about gays that have been more offensive than any physical threats from men. Women can be VERY hurtful, and Kelly's tone definitely had that spite in it, in my opinion.

    Posted by: jmg | Nov 21, 2006 2:12:38 PM

  13. Rosie O'Donnell does not represent the gay agenda. She is a spoiled, self-indulgent, pushy egomaniac.

    Posted by: out of whack | Nov 21, 2006 2:13:02 PM

  14. The TRUE irony of the View clip is guest host Sherri Shepard; once known for her *very* gay friendly humor, the comic has all but distanced herself from her (now) fleeting fanbase. Expect a Carol Channing-like incident any day now from this "found jesus" actress.

    Check out my link for a Christian Q&A with Shepard.

    Posted by: Midnight Lounge | Nov 21, 2006 2:14:21 PM

  15. You're hands are never entirely clean. Who knows how many doorknobs he turned, hands he shook, pens he used to give autographs, etc. I'm always washing my hands, but I still make a conscious effort to keep my hands away from my lips and my nose and my eyes.
    And everyone should wash their hands after using the toilet, even if you "didn't touch anything".

    Posted by: LiamOg | Nov 21, 2006 2:15:52 PM

  16. Also, I think some people have trouble siding with the less attractive Rosie and Clay over beautiful Kelly.

    Posted by: jmg | Nov 21, 2006 2:16:02 PM

  17. All gay stuff aside, THIS is where womens' liberation has taken us???

    "A man playfully put his hand over my mouth because I wouldn't shut up, and I'm the Victim here!"

    These ladies need to get a grip. If women's empowerment is so easily threatened by this kind of blindly innocent move, there's still a long, long way to go.

    Posted by: Thomas | Nov 21, 2006 2:16:47 PM

  18. Rosie is the problem here. Clay continues to deny that he is gay, yet Rosie wants to call Kelly out for being homophobic? How can you be homophobic if the subject of your "slur" isn't out as being gay? Makes no sense... but then again neither does the fact that I felt the need to comment on this thread. God, just kill me now!

    Posted by: Wayne | Nov 21, 2006 2:22:03 PM

  19. I always thought it was spelled "Hiney"

    Posted by: Myackie | Nov 21, 2006 2:24:22 PM

  20. I don't think Kelly's remark was homophobic and yes, the hand over mouth is a little gross but it WAS A JOKE. Plus she basically was offended because Clay actually SPOKE and had funny quips and banter and CO-HOSTED like his job was supposed to be, instead of letting Kelly takeover like she normally does. That's why she made the remark. I don't really think Clay did anything THAT wrong, maybe a little overboard (but please, it's nowhere near Michael Richards).

    Posted by: Vance | Nov 21, 2006 2:25:43 PM

  21. Additionally, perhaps all this anger toward Rosie is indirectly aimed at ourselves? Would we rather she just "keep quiet" and not make waves? I think not. She's vocal. I squirm, but that's my own internal homophobia at work.

    I say bring it, Rosie. But my conflict is that I *adore* Ripa. LOVE her.

    Posted by: midnight lounge | Nov 21, 2006 2:25:54 PM

  22. I saw the clips, including today's Regis w/ Kelly ref'ing a conversation she had with Howard Stern about the original incident. I agree w/ Rosie. Kelly's attitude is/was/continues to be homophobic.

    Posted by: Brad | Nov 21, 2006 2:26:09 PM

  23. I think Kelly has every reason to be upset. She was very respectful throughout the whole show and he kept insulting her to a point where it wasn't funny anymore. He was quite annoying and very disrespectful to a show host.

    Posted by: marie | Nov 21, 2006 2:27:51 PM

  24. Oh, but wanted to add, I'm NOT a Clay Aiken fan either but I thought he may have been a little overexcited and forced but nothing to get in a huff about.

    Posted by: Vance | Nov 21, 2006 2:27:55 PM

  25. "but didn't he put himself there?"

    Comment from Elisabeth (I forget her name) on the view...

    Has to be a very profound question. Indeed. Did Clay Aiken put himself there, in that awkward position Rosie states? Yes, society is homophobic, yes there are things outside of his control, however with more celebs coming out and more not making an issue of their sexuality, I do have to agree mostly with her statement, Clay's situation is (mostly) form his own doing...

    Posted by: Cory | Nov 21, 2006 2:28:52 PM

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