08.04.10

Salahi Accuses Whoopi of 'Abuse'

After her appearance on The View to promote The Real Housewives of D.C., Michaele Salahi claims that co-host Goldberg verbally attacked her, prompted by the "White House crashers" controversy last year.

After her appearance on The View to promote The Real Housewives of D.C., Michaele Salahi claims that co-host Goldberg verbally attacked her—"I make no apology," says Whoopi.

Updated with Whoopi Goldberg’s on-air response to Salahi.

Whatever you do, don’t call Michaele and Tareq Salahi White House party crashers. When that happened on air on The View on Wednesday—Michaele Salahi was on the show to promote The Real Housewives of D.C.—Salahi ended up leaving in tears and afterward accused the show and its co-host Whoopi Goldberg of “outrageous abuse.”

What set Salahi off was when Goldberg came from backstage and approached Salahi on the air, saying something that was inaudible to viewers. According to Lisa Bloom, the Salahi's lawyer, Goldberg grabbed Salahi’s arm and said, “Move on, move on! Get to the White House!,” in an attempt to steer the conversation toward allegations that the Salahis party-crashed last year. The moment lasted all but a few seconds, but Salahi was apparently unnerved and remarked that she’d been surprised by Goldberg’s appearance. Co-host Sherri Shepherd remarked to the audience, “That’s Whoopi. She don’t come out unless she’s passionate.”

Click Image Below to View Our Gallery of the Salahis at the White House

Then, after the show finished taping, Goldberg, according to Bloom, burst into a room Michaele was sitting in with Tareq and screamed: “I didn’t fucking hit you! Did you say I fucking hit you?”

“She was screaming and dropping the F-bomb many, many times,” Bloom told The Daily Beast exclusively.

(This is not the first time Michaele has accused someone who was trying to get her attention of hitting her. As MSNBC’s Courtney Hazlett reports, in 2009, Michaele made a similar charge against attorney Cindy Revesman.)

Tareq apparently began filming the verbal altercation with his BlackBerry, though Bloom said he only caught “the last few seconds.”

Watch Michaele Salahi on The View

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Later in the day, this post appeared on Michaele Salahi’s Facebook page: “Salahis will address on Thursday Morning LIVE on National TV the outrageous abuse and exchange that took place on the ABC Show the View and a [sic] audio & video file from Whoopi Goldberg verbal attack to Michaele. Standby for details…”

According to Bloom, The View had been specifically instructed by Bravo (which produces The Real Housewives) not to refer to the Salahis as “White House party crashers,” because, she said, “I consider that to be false and defamatory. They did not crash the party. They were invited to the party. They have emails from the White House listing them as invited to the party.”

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The Salahis have been widely criticized as fame-seekers since their alleged crashing of the Obamas’ first-ever state dinner in November. There has been a grand jury investigation into how the couple got past the Secret Service, but there have been no charges.

Mrs. Salahi, therefore, was upset when the show’s hosts involved the “party crasher” term, all the more so when Shepherd said, “You guys should be in jail,” and, according to Bloom, an applause light went on, and “the audience was all made to laugh.”

“I guess Sherri Shepherd knows better than the U.S. attorney what constitutes a crime,” Bloom quipped. “Michaele was very upset about this all day.”

A call to Goldberg’s publicist Wednesday was not returned. A Bravo spokeswoman said the network has no comment. But a Bravo source said, “There was no abuse.”

 

Bloom said Wednesday she was awaiting a response from The View. “I think they treated her horribly. I think they defamed her. I was really shocked by the way she was treated. It’s one thing to ask tough questions, it’s another to use defamatory language when you’ve been warned not to.”

Video screenshot

She said she was not at this time threatening a lawsuit, but that, “I think they should apologize on the air.”

ABC issued this statement in response to Salahi’s charges: “At one point during Michaele Salahi’s appearance on The View on Wednesday, Whoopi lightly touched Ms. Salahi to get her attention and said to her, “Excuse me, can you get back to the White House, please?,’ meaning could Ms. Salahi return to the original subject of the conversation. After the show, Ms. Salahi and her husband accused Whoopi of hitting Ms. Salahi. As the broadcast clearly shows, the accusation was completely unfounded and erroneous. After the show and after being told she was being accused of hitting Ms. Salahi, Whoopi proceeded to defend herself verbally from this baseless claim in a heated exchange with the Salahis.”

On The View on Thursday morning, Goldberg addressed the previous day’s incident—but apologized for nothing.

About coming from backstage to grab Salahi’s attention during taping, she said: “I come out sometimes. Just because I wanna. And sometimes to get things started. That’s the way I do it here. And everyone’s seen it, and it’s cool. So I was backstage waiting for the conversation to get back to the White House.”

They then played the tape of Wednesday’s broadcast showing Goldberg coming over to Salahi and saying, in a perfectly normal tone of voice, “Excuse me—Could you get back to the White House, please?” She does not appear to grab Salahi’s arm.

Goldberg continued her explanation “I was told that she said that I hit her. So [after taping] I went up to her and I told her. She knew I didn’t hit her. And you know how I said it. Choice words. And I make no apology for my choice words.

“But then her husband got in my face, had his Blackberry out, and started taking pictures of me. And, needless to say, I really went off then. And there were even more choice words. I mean, they were so choice, you coulda cut ‘em with a knife and eaten them.”

At this, The View audience erupted in wild applause.

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Nicole LaPorte is the senior West Coast reporter for The Daily Beast and the author of The Men Who Would Be King: An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies, and a Company Called DreamWorks.