Bette Midler | Lady Gaga | Music

Bette Midler Blasts Lady Gaga For Mermaid Wheelchair Bit

MidlerDelago Lady Gaga caused some controversy during a concert in Sydney last week, when she rolled onto stage as a mermaid in a wheelchair.

Differently-abled activists were upset by Gaga's antics, and some demanded an apology, and may have been behind Gaga nearly getting egged while coming out of a gay bar this weekend.

Singer Bette Midler, however, has a different bone to pick: she took to Twitter to remind Gaga that she originated the Mermaid wheelchair bit over three decades ago.

I’m not sure @ladygaga knows that I’ve performed my mermaid in a wheelchair for millions of people -- and many of them are still alive," The Divine Ms. M wrote. "Dear @ladygaga if you think a mermaid in a wheelchair seems familiar-it's because it is!You can see it on youtube 24/7-with ME performing it"

She also remarked, "I've been doing singing mermaid in a wheelchair since 1980-You can keep the meat dress and the firecracker tits - mermaid's mine."

Midler forgot to mention that Kurt Cobain also used a wheelchair during a 1992 performance.

Watch Midler's Mermaid character, Delores Delago, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Ok. Whatever Bette. Stop being pathetic. I'm not a big Gaga fan, this just seems beneath you.

    Yes, queens, she's being pathetic. Please don't stomp around and get all agro on me.

    (BM kinda proved herself to be a real c**t on that one Kathy Griffin episode in Vegas, remember? Since then my respect for her has dwindled, and this just supports my belief in her c**tiness.)

    (P.S. Remember how pathetic it looked when Lauren Bacall smack-talked young whipper snappers like Nicole Kidman? "They aren't stars! They don't know what a real star is!" She was bordering on Norma Desmond country, and now so is BM...)

    Posted by: Andalusian Dog | Jul 17, 2011 2:34:03 PM


  2. You know what? I love Bette, don't get me wrong, but I think she is just bitter. Here comes a young woman, who started out much the same way she did. Quirky personality, larger then life, INSTANT fame.. and to top it all off gaga is almost literally taking her fans away from her. She has hated Gaga since day one. But, in all honesty, its her own fault for not releasing anything new in years. Shes the one releasing cover CDs. Quite frankly, when I see an artist start releasing cover CDs I stop buying their music. Its the kiss of death for me.

    Also, if you notice a lot of the strong, quirky female artists hate gaga. Charo comes instantly to mind.. I guess a lot of them have a "There can be only one" mentality.

    Posted by: Coony | Jul 17, 2011 2:40:06 PM


  3. They always adore you until someone they like better comes along. That's loyalty.

    Posted by: luminum | Jul 17, 2011 2:48:18 PM


  4. What, Lady Gaga lifted a schtick from a fellow gay icon? WHAAAAA?

    Posted by: Gregoire | Jul 17, 2011 2:52:13 PM


  5. Bette just keeps shooting herself in the foot doesn't she? Too bad I love her, and yes her cover CD's are a snore.

    Posted by: QJ201 | Jul 17, 2011 2:52:40 PM


  6. What a shock!

    Gaga stealing others material!

    Yeah.... I'm not quite sure I'd know what to do if the girl came up with her own material....

    Thank Gawd that Bette is finally calling this soon to be has-been out for her petty thefts...

    Posted by: Trace | Jul 17, 2011 3:01:18 PM


  7. Good lord could you queens have your noses buried any further up GaGa's snatch? I think she is entertaining but the first thing I saw of when I saw the mermaid bit was "How retro. I wonder if it is an homage to Bette."

    I'd be bitter too if someone stole one of my acts and didn't give me credit for it.

    Posted by: KM | Jul 17, 2011 3:01:20 PM


  8. @Gregoire Right, exactly.

    @BetteMidler - It's called an "homage." You know that word? You can pronounce it in two ways. It's quite nifty. Learn it, you may need to use it someday.

    Posted by: Andalusian Dog | Jul 17, 2011 3:01:24 PM


  9. Hey, Bette, it is homage. Anything Gaggy does is homage! Just because it looks so similar you are just being a bitter old Queen...don't be a drag! Oh yeah, and you HAVE to be jealous, because Gaggy will is so uber neat! Don't actually assert that your act had thought behind it! Stop drinking the haterade!
    And ironically, the Kurt Cobain move was an illusion to "The Rose" and it was funny and sad and REAL....but let's not get factual! He stole it from Gaggy! Yeah! Before she became famous! And anyone who says differently is a drag, not a Queen! Haterz!

    Posted by: Zulu | Jul 17, 2011 3:02:21 PM


  10. Lady Kinkos is at it again. Bette Midler has had a career that has lasted longer than most Gaga fans have been alive the nerve of some Gaga fans to insult her. Hell Gaga's second Cd is already gonna sell a fraction of her debut CD, what legend does that. Madonna didn't do it, Britney didn't do it, Beyonce didn't do it.... Why is Gaga doing it?

    Posted by: xtincta | Jul 17, 2011 3:04:10 PM


  11. Disabled people protested because she was in a wheelchair? Are you kidding me?!?! She wasn't making fun of disabled people. She wasn't pretending to be disabled. She was pretending to be a MERMAID with FINS instead of LEGS. Give me a break.

    Posted by: Kevin_BGFH | Jul 17, 2011 3:06:12 PM


  12. If a homage means ripping Bette Midler off, then this is exactly what Gaga is doing! I'm proud of Bette, defending her act which she gas been doing for decades. If this whole thing cause Bette to lose some of her gays, it's no biggie, she lost some in the 80s to Madonna. Most of em will stay true to our queen however! Gaga needs to be more creative!

    Posted by: Jonathan | Jul 17, 2011 3:10:47 PM


  13. I'm sorry, but this is like GaGa's 10,000th homage. When are you guys going to stop pretending that GaGa is paying respect to artists of the past with "homages" when in reality, she's disrespecting them by stealing their ideas and presenting them to her culturally ignorant audience as something brand new?

    Bette and Grace Jones have the right idea. I would react the exact same way.

    Posted by: Jay C. | Jul 17, 2011 3:17:40 PM


  14. GaGa was in a wheel chair in her Paparazzi video, she used crutches at her VMA performance, and has shown up to an award show in a neck brace. The fact that differently-abled activists are getting angry now is ridiculous.

    I agree that that she pretty clearly knocked off Bette here. But to be honest I think if you are going to be a mermaid on stage, your mobility options are kind of limited right? Don't you need a wheelchair to work the stage if you don't have legs?

    Posted by: Thomas | Jul 17, 2011 3:27:29 PM


  15. Bette is right. She created the mermaid bit and it is her creative and intellectual property. I know it can't be copyrighted but, come on. She is right.

    I do love me some, Gaga, too.

    Posted by: truthteller | Jul 17, 2011 3:27:37 PM


  16. Bette Midler did not create mermaids, nor is she the only one who is allowed to dress up like one. Some of you (including Bette) need to grow up.

    Posted by: kc | Jul 17, 2011 3:40:59 PM


  17. how many people under the age of say 30 know Bette Midler from something other reruns of Beaches on Lifetime?

    Posted by: Grover Underwood | Jul 17, 2011 3:44:22 PM


  18. Bette should have defended her (and maybe got a little dig in). She could have easily said "Why should she apologize? She wasn't making fun of the handicapped. I've been doing this bit for 30 years now, and it's never been a big deal." Or she could have kept her mouth shut. Instead she came of sounding old and jealous.

    I can see why people say Gaga is "stealing" from other artists, but I think she's actually paying homage to them and they should be grateful. I'm not much of a Gaga fan, but whenever she does something like this, the first thing I want to do is see the original. People are now going to see Midler's original in online searches and it may expose a new generation to her work.

    Madonna's performances did the same thing for
    me and opened up a world of art and culture... Her Express Yourself video led to Metropolis, which led to a ton of other silent films, which led to some classic talkies; her Bedtime Story video alone introduced me to a lot of surrealist artists. Music samples she used in her music led to my love of some obscure and forgotten music from the past.

    So don't be too quick to bash Gaga for reinventing/recycling/paying homage to something that's been done before, she's not the first or the last. Also, Midler needs to chill out; she looks sad shouting out "she stole my bit!" It's 30 years old, retire it! Come up with something new and don't be so bitter.

    Posted by: Morgan | Jul 17, 2011 3:49:51 PM


  19. "Differently-able activists". Pardon me while I go vomit over this latest, precious PC nomenclature.

    As for The Divine M: Bette, honey, tell it like it is. The mediocre always steal from the greats. They hide their thievery behind the screen of "homage". Maybe we can PC it up a bit and call it, um, "visual sampling".

    Posted by: jamal49 | Jul 17, 2011 4:00:35 PM


  20. Ok so its a 'Homage' is it? I guess Cacas entire career must be a 'Homage' to other people since she has done nothing original of note.

    Posted by: Rovex | Jul 17, 2011 4:01:08 PM


  21. Oy vey. Gaga performed one song at one concert in Australia while dressed as a mermaid in a wheel chair. She performed as a mermaid a few weeks ago in France and she basically just sat on scaffolding with wheels. It would seem that, if she had wanted to continue performing as a mermaid but wanted to be more mobile that a wheelchair was the logical thing to use. It seems quite possible that Gaga and the Haus came up with this on their own. Because, really, if you want to perform as a mermaid you really don't have many options.

    As for Bette? Well three repetitive tweets directed at Gaga in the span of a few hours does seem to be a little much. But I doubt this is going away. Gaga has been talking about mermaids a lot recently and they will probably appear in her next video, which she's reportedly shooting very soon.

    Posted by: SKOC211 | Jul 17, 2011 4:04:43 PM


  22. There is nothing new under the sun. All artists learn from and base their writing/singing/visual and physical performances on everything that came before them. The manifestation of their talent does not magic itself from thin air. It is like all education - absorbing and utilising the experiences discoveries and achievments of the past.

    Posted by: Den | Jul 17, 2011 4:07:36 PM


  23. is the "Divine" one still anti-marriage equality?

    Posted by: r | Jul 17, 2011 4:16:34 PM


  24. Bette Midler blasts Lady Gaga. Gaga, nor most of her fans, gives a sh*t.

    Posted by: daws | Jul 17, 2011 4:25:43 PM



  25. She also remarked, "I've been doing singing mermaid in a wheelchair since 1980"

    No need to point out the obvious, Bette.

    Consider getting a career instead of trying to leverage someone else's, eh?

    Posted by: Pete n SFO | Jul 17, 2011 4:31:37 PM


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