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)

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. Although the media double standard is indeed a very real problem, I feel like it has been dicussed on here many times before.

    What we don't talk about are precisely these "small" instances of homophobia. Do I think we should stone Kelly Ripa? No, but I also think that she was definitely being homophobic here and it truly saddens me that so many gay men are so ready to defend her. These little slights are significant people, and they need to be pointed out.

    Posted by: jmg | Nov 21, 2006 3:07:35 PM

  2. Added Thought:

    After watching the clip again, Kelly's tone was more that of a woman talking to Clay like one of her children. I'll allow it because it was childish and unprofessional for him to do what he did.

    Aren't there Democratic politicians out there trying to write bills to bring back the draft that we need to be talking about rather than where Clay Aiken's hands have been today?

    Posted by: Kyle | Nov 21, 2006 3:10:56 PM

  3. Um, Kyle, the real issue is not HOW any woman would say the word "Honey" but why any woman would use it with Clay in the first place, when we all know it wouldn't be used with other male celebrities.

    Posted by: jmg | Nov 21, 2006 3:12:38 PM

  4. Thanks, Cory. And I hear you about the length, sometimes, of my remarks, which is why I am following the suggestion of some [both benign and hostile, LOL] and starting my own simple blog where I can rant ad infinitum.

    Posted by: Leland | Nov 21, 2006 3:15:17 PM

  5. I love "Regis & Kelly" (well, mostly just Kelly) and watch it every morning. I saw the incident with Clay last Friday, but missed the first few minutes of Monday's show where she talked about it with Regis. Thanks for posting all the clips here!!!

    Because of my love for Kelly and disdain for closeted celebrities, I'm going to side with Kelly. She's become a little more Diva over the years, but Clay was out of line. And I KNOW she didn't mean anything homophobic by her remarks. That show is very 'germphobic' and they talk about that all the time!

    Posted by: Chad | Nov 21, 2006 3:15:45 PM

  6. I think Rosie said it was a homophobic response because of the way it was said. It was said in such a way, with the sassyness and the "honey", to imply that she was talking about his supposed homosexuality (even if he's not "out", everybody knows the rumors at least). She was pissed that he put his hand on her, which is ok, but the way she said it was a jab at him, not just a "please don't do that again" type response.

    Posted by: kitkats99 | Nov 21, 2006 3:16:41 PM

  7. Clay was just plain rude. I wouldn't want him to put his hands over my mouth - ever.

    Homophobia? Most likely not. Sorry, Rosie.... and no, she doesn't speak for me either.

    Posted by: Jonathon | Nov 21, 2006 3:19:30 PM

  8. Not many people realize that the mouth is much dirtier than the hand. And fewer people know that diseases (viruses) are spread mostly by hand-eye contact rather than hand-mouth contact. Clay was taking the greater risk here! However, it was impolite of him, and that is what everyone is really reacting to, not the health issue. As far as Andy's point is concerned, it cannot be said directly that Rosie was outing Clay, since she could assume that Kelly thought Clay was gay and said something homophobic, rather than say that the remark was homophobic because Rosie thinks Clay is gay. The remark should not have been assumed to have been homophobic in the first place and Rosie should have admitted her error when she had the chance.

    Posted by: Anon | Nov 21, 2006 3:26:04 PM

  9. On the "honey" comment -- that, too, is utterly innocuous to me. Why on earth do you think Kelly Ripa wouldn't say that to a man, whether it's Russell Crowe, Mario Lopez, The Rock, or Tom Cruise? It's an expression of jokey annoyance, spoken by women to men in general, just as a guy who is similarly annoyed or irritated might call another guy "pal" or "buddy." It would never occur to me that women would only call gay men "honey." Is every waitress who calls a customer "honey" homophobic? What a tempest in a teapot -- let's get political about actual homophobia rather than reading bigotry into every innocent action or comment.

    Posted by: Ajax | Nov 21, 2006 3:26:06 PM

  10. Here's the deal: Clay was wrong by putting his hand over Kelly's mouth; Kelly was wrong to make what arguably could be a homophobic comment; Rosie was wrong by outing Clay, so to speak.

    They each share in the blame for this misunderstanding. But, are you really outing someone when they don't deny they're gay, but rather refuse to comment? I'd say Rosie is the least culpable here.

    Posted by: Anon1 | Nov 21, 2006 3:27:54 PM

  11. I watched The View regulary - TIVO auto records it - and as I heard Rosie take issue w/this she said she "guarantees" that this was a homophobic remark I knew she was off track. How could she guarantee anything? I believe she said that at least twice.

    Interestingly, when Kelly called in and offered the smackdown (loved it!) Rosie then retreated to the "well, that's my view" position. I doubt Kelly would have bothered to call the show if in fact, Rosie positioned her comments as her opinion instead of as the absolute fact - as if she alone knows exactly and without doubt what Kelly's intentions are

    I appreciate the way Rosie is able to organically (usually) interject the gay perspective into the show, but I think that as the only gay person on the show she may forget that she is not the ultimate authority on all things gay. The role of oracle is currently being played to the hilt at 4pm on channel 7 by Oprah.

    Kelly's comments were not homophobic - in my view- I think they expressed how generally pissed off she was this this b-level (at best) celebrity came on a show that contains her name in the title and did not sufficiently kiss her ass. While we may not like that, it's her show and Clay probably should have shown tons more respect by at least NOT putting his hands on her in any way.

    It will be interesting to see how Clay handles being outed by Rosie and/or if Rosie, on tomorrow's show, suddenly claims jet-lag for her comments and mis-statements about Clay.

    Posted by: hoya86 | Nov 21, 2006 3:28:02 PM

  12. Why isnt anyone talking about the fact that Kelly Ripa basically decided to do the whole interview herself and by doing so obviously made Clay visibly uncomfortable. Now, I am by no means a Clay Aiken fan, nor am I excusing what he did because I KNOW his mother did not raise him to be the type of person to cover other peoples' mouths but come on people. What is the point of having a GUEST CO-HOST if you do not let them speak? I just think that both of them are to blame for setting up an environment that something like this could happen and maybe next time Regis is gone the producers will have enough sense to have her host the show by herself since she believes a CO-HOST should be seen and not heard.

    Posted by: Kinda annoyed | Nov 21, 2006 3:32:32 PM

  13. AJAX--please.

    Yes, waitresses do call everyone "honey."

    Female talk show hosts do not.

    Women use words as weapons. Is this so hard to believe? She was legitimately pissed off, and she used a word in her arsenal that was meant to insult the masculinity of Clay Aiken.

    Posted by: jmg | Nov 21, 2006 3:34:09 PM

  14. By some freak accident, I saw both the Clay and Kelly episode and today's episode of The View. (I rarely watch daytime TV.)

    I have to disagree and take Kelly's side. I certainly didn't feel any air of homophobia when I was watching the episode. They were playfully arguing all episode, but I think she was right in saying he crossed the line. In my opinion, it's a matter of what is socially appropriate (read: not downright rude), not sexuality.

    Sorry, Rosie. I think you were reading way too much into it.

    Posted by: Scott Anthony | Nov 21, 2006 3:38:01 PM

  15. As Kate Smith used to say, "A dozen American Beauty roses are on their way" to you now, HOYA86, for your on point comment about Saint Oprah.

    As for the booking of guest hosts with Kelly, can we attribute to "I don't care how many kids he's got he makes my gaydar explode" Gelman the fact that so many of them are rumored to be gay: Aiken, Anderson, Justin Guarini, Jeff Gordon, Jeff Probst.....

    Posted by: Leland | Nov 21, 2006 3:40:00 PM

  16. ok, i 100% agree with kelly on this one, gayken was rude to cover her mouth with his hands period. i bet she is a germophbe like me, i would have slapped his hands if i was her.

    now, rosie kind of blown it out of proportion. but i can see how she saw it that way, though.

    Posted by: johnosahon | Nov 21, 2006 3:40:55 PM

  17. Kinda, I agree with you. Kelly's comment was ARGUABLY homophobic, or at least alluding to his personal life. Anyone who has followed Aiken's career knows it is fair to assume this. Rippa was dominating the interview, and that was rude to Clay. But Clay should not have covered her mouth. Interestingly, Clay seemed genuinely nervous after he withdrew his hand. But we don't know how he conducted himself after the show was over.

    They are all culpable. Rosie did imply she had the final say by her words, but I don't think anyone assumes that she has the final say. Saying "I guarantee" can simply mean that you feel strongly about something. It doesn't necessariyly mean that you have the final say and anything different is wrong.

    Each of them are overreacting. But Kelly chose to make this a bigger issue than it would have been. She could have just let it go.

    Posted by: Anon1 | Nov 21, 2006 3:41:05 PM

  18. er, each of them IS....not ARE

    Posted by: Anon1 | Nov 21, 2006 3:43:40 PM

  19. Wow Leland, that was great. I do think Rosie was wrong about it being a homophobic remark, but I have to give it to her for being out and proud. She really seems to have a great heart.

    When I watched the clip, I thought that I wouldn't want someone other than a lover to put his hand over my mouth (to keep the noise level down, I suppose). Than I thought of how many of my friends kiss hello and goodbye. During cold and flu season, that is probably a lot worse than hands. Maybe we should start doing air kisses like my aunts use to do.

    Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Nov 21, 2006 3:43:50 PM

  20. Wonder how Rosie would have felt being outed during those years she was pretending to be in love with Tom Cruise. Remember that spectacle?

    What a self-centered, obnoxious woman.

    Posted by: Tom | Nov 21, 2006 3:45:41 PM

  21. Clay was being a sexist asshole. If a stranger did that to me I'd knee him in the nuts.

    Posted by: BabS | Nov 21, 2006 3:48:49 PM

  22. Very thoughtful comments here, but a little addition to the facts couldn't hurt. Clay has met Kelly at least two times, when he previously was a guest on the show. Kelly has made fun of him more than once, and it's been my impression that 1) the nature of the jokes were gay references, and 2) that she's always been cool towards him. On Friday's show, preceding the hand-over-the-mouth gaffe by Clay, Kelly had replayed a tape of her Halloween get-up on the show a couple years ago, where she spoofed Aiken; he playfully made it clear–and the audience cheered him on–that he didn't actually appreciate her spoof.

    Posted by: PAT | Nov 21, 2006 3:49:51 PM

  23. Ohhhh, flowers! For little ol' me? Thank you kindly sir. :)

    Posted by: hoya86 | Nov 21, 2006 3:50:04 PM

  24. Kelli is adorable. She didn't mean anything by her reaction. I would have been just as pissed.

    Let's be honest, between his hair, his lies and his general gayness, I find him creepy...and I'm gay.

    At the very least, he had been shaking the hands of audience members prior to the taping. That alone would have me go nuts if he touch my mouth.

    Posted by: Brad | Nov 21, 2006 3:52:14 PM

  25. Since nobody here can read minds, then I think that we would have to take Ms. Ripa at her word. The "honey argument" is a stupid one because women have been using that word for years to give their words extra 'sass'.
    The only homo with a phobia that I can see is Rosie herself.

    Posted by: soulbrotha | Nov 21, 2006 3:53:34 PM

  26. « | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 »

Post a comment


« «News: Jocelyn Wildenstein, Gay Rhodes Scholar, Little Britain« «