The Fix

Kylie Minogue, dangerous; Tom cruises to Penelope's side; and Charlize Theron and Nelson Mandela love each other to bits. Plus: "Orgy" cut out of "America's Next Top Model."

By Salon Staff
Published March 11, 2004 2:43PM (EST)

Afternoon Briefing:

John Kerry, your mike is on! Sen. John Kerry thought he was having a private moment with some employees of the Hill Mechanical Group in Chicago yesterday when he said "We're going to keep pounding, let me tell you. We're just beginning to fight here ... These guys are the most crooked, you know, lying group I've ever seen. It's scary." But he was wired for sound, and now the chairman of President Bush's reelection campaign is demanding an apology. Kerry's people refused to back down, saying the candidate was referring to the Republicans' "hardball, gutter politics." Said Kerry spokesman David Wade, "We're going to make it very clear that he's a Democrat who punches back." (Chicago Tribune via Yahoo! News)

It's a Theron-Mandela love fest: When actress Charlize Theron met Nelson Mandela this week she told him he was an inspiration to everyone and gushed "I love you so much." Nelson replied, "Oh ... I love you too" and thanked her for "putting South Africa on the map." (AFP)

Gest not: David Gest and Liza Minnelli were offered millions of dollars to fight out their divorce on the reality show "Celebrity Justice," but Gest said no way. (Ananova)

Dangerous curves: A sexy billboard for Kylie Minogue's new album "Body Language" has reportedly caused car crashes in Los Angeles. One dude was quoted as saying "Kylie looked so hot, I couldn't take my eyes off of her. Now my Porsche is crushed." (Sky News)

Up in smoke: A new study by a professor of medicine shows that almost 80 percent of PG-rated movies depict some kind of tobacco use. The author of the study, Stanton Glantz, wants smoking to be treated like swearing is -- with an R-rating. He does say there should be an exception for historical accuracy: "For example, if they wanted to make a movie about Winston Churchill, they could show him with a cigar without triggering an R rating, but the number of movies where that actually happens is very small." (CNN)

Chivalry is not dead: Tom Cruise, hearing that his sweetie Penelope Cruz was ailing, flew to Morocco to be with her on the set of "Sahara." The actress was reportedly suffering from heat exhaustion and also sick with worry over her father, who is recovering from a heart attack. (Web India)

-- Karen Croft

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Morning Briefing:

So much for that Get Out of Jail Free card: Diana Ross has been ordered to return to Arizona, where she was convicted of "extreme DUI" and sentenced to two days in jail, to serve her 48-hour sentence after it was determined that the in-again-out-again 47 hours she served in a Greenwich, Conn., jail did "not comply with Arizona law." (The Smoking Gun)

Another escape? Don't mail off that camouflage china place setting just yet. Former Army POW Jessica Lynch is said to have "postponed indefinitely" her wedding to fiancé Sgt. Ruben Contreras. Lynch's grandma says the couple are still engaged, though. (People magazine via N.Y. Post)

All Bettes are off: Bette Midler insists she's not the writer of a letter bearing her name and sent repeatedly to the White House speaking out on behalf of gay marriage. "It's a beautifully written, heartfelt and impassioned letter," Midler says, but "I am not its author." (Rush and Molloy)

Sluuuurp: "Joe Millionaire" reject Sarah Kozer has been spotted in London sitting on the lap of James Hewitt, aka Princess Diana's icky-icky love rat. (Rush and Molloy)

A family man after all? Now that he and Edie Falco have split up, Stanley Tucci is said to be looking to reconcile with his wife, Kate, the mother of his three kids. (Rush and Molloy)

Car-top dancing will not be tolerated? A grand jury has been convened by the prosecution in the Michael Jackson child molestation case, but proceedings are being kept very low-key and hush-hush. (N.Y. Daily News)

Ben there, regretted that: Ben Affleck has written a note to Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter expressing regret for cooperating with Peter Biskind for his Harvey Weinstein-slamming book, "Down and Dirty Pictures," excerpts from which were published in Carter's magazine. "As it turned out Mr. Biskind was yet another gossip columnist masquerading as an 'entertainment journalist' who had written his story before even bothering to research it," wrote Affleck. Ouch. (Page Six)

There's an if-life-gives-you-lemons-sell-lemonade lesson in here somewhere: "Apprentice" also-ran Ereka Vetrini says that she and show buddies Amy, Krista and Katrina declined to pose nude for Playboy in exchange for $250,000 each, instead opting to doff just a few duds for the tamer FHM -- for free. Vetrini said that she felt that taking it all off for Playboy would have been "selling myself out." (Page Six)

And while we're on the subject of "The Apprentice": Bristly ex-contender Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth is speaking out on the moment when she took offense at Ereka Vetrini's "pot calling the kettle black" comment, telling Star Jones on "The View" that she had actually been reacting to a previous use of the "'N' word" by someone on the show. NBC denied it happened. (N.Y. Post)

Now back to giving it away for free: George Michael has announced that he won't be releasing albums in the traditional sense and will instead just put music out via the Internet for free download -- with the option for fans to donate money to charity should they so choose. "I've been very well remunerated for my talents over the years so I really don't need the public's money," the musician told BBC Radio 1. (Soundgenerator)

Little Elf: Will Ferrell and his wife, Viveca Paulin, have announced the birth of their first child, a boy, Magnus Paulin Ferrell. (Associated Press)

Blame Janet Jackson: "America's Next Top Model" producer and host Tyra Banks has been ordered to cut out portions of an episode set to air next week that contained what Banks has termed an "orgy." UPN apparently felt that the material, in which four of the women team up with four frisky fellas in Milan, Italy, was "inappropriate for broadcast." (N.Y. Post)

-- Amy Reiter

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