Kelly Ripa and Rosie O'Donnell Fuel Aiken Controversy

ByABC News via via logo

Nov. 22, 2006 — -- First, Kelly Ripa went after Clay Aiken, now Rosie O'Donnell's going after Ripa. The three big stars are embroiled in some major celebrity beef. The fireworks began on Friday when Aiken, guest-hosting with Ripa on "Live With Regis and Kelly," jokingly put his hand over Ripa's mouth while she was conducting an interview.

Seeing that Ripa didn't appreciate his joke, Aiken said, "Oh, I'm in trouble." Ripa responded, "No, I just don't know where that hand's been, honey."

On Monday, Ripa took aim at Aiken's behavior.

"You don't put your hands on someone's face when they're conducting an interview. Even when it's for a laugh," she said on "Live."

Ripa's comment fired up comedian and "The View" co-host O'Donnell. On Tuesday's edition of "The View," O'Donnell called Ripa a homophobe.

"Now listen, to me that was a homophobic remark. If that was a straight man, if that was a cute man, if that was a guy that she didn't question his sexuality, she would have said a different thing," O'Donnell said.

Within minutes, Ripa was on the phone, fighting back. The following exchange played out live on the air.

Ripa: "Listen, I'm watching the show. Rosie, I love you dearly. I have to strongly, strongly disagree with you. I think what you said was downright outrageous.

O'Donnell: "Well, Kel, I come from my perspective, you come from yours. I love you. You talk on your show. I talk on mine. Say it."

Ripa: "He reached across and covered my mouth with his hands. He's shaking hands with everybody in the audience. And it's cold and flu season. That's what I meant. And to imply that it's anything homophobic is outrageous, Rosie, and you know it."

O'Donnell: "I'm just saying from where I sit as a gay person in the world that I have to tell you, that's how it came off to me."

Aiken, who has declined to publicly discuss his sexuality, has not commented on the clash of the talk-show titans.

"I think Clay Aiken is caught in between a rock and a hard place," said celebrity blogger Perez Hilton. "She's making his sexuality the hot topic of the day when that's probably the last thing Clay Aiken wants."

Still, Tuesday night on the American Music Awards, Aiken may have gotten the last laugh when he and Tori Spelling appeared together to announce a performance.

"I'll tell you where that hands been later," Spelling said, after clamping her hand over Aiken's mouth.

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