The Fix

O'Reilly and Clooney scuffle; Rather departure linked to memo scandal. Plus: A taste of Star Jones' self-help book.


Salon Staff
January 11, 2005 7:32PM (UTC)

Turn On:
Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET, HBO is airing a critically lauded documentary about a New Hampshire woman's fight for justice after she was brutally raped by an intruder at age 75, "A Rape in a Small Town: The Florence Holway Story." And if you're up for only crappy reality TV tonight, you're in luck: "The Biggest Loser" (8 p.m. ET, NBC) and "The Rebel Billionaire" (8 p.m. ET, Fox) both air their season finales, and "Queer Eye for the Straight Girl" (11 p.m. ET, Bravo) kicks off.

Morning Briefing:
At it again: What is it with George Clooney and Bill O'Reilly, anyway? It seems like every time a disaster hits, the two get into a scuffle. Remember O'Reilly's (unproven) allegations of wrongful distribution of funds after a fundraiser for 9/11 victims way back when? Well, the Fox News Channel host is at it again, saying that the celebrities involved in an upcoming tsunami fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall have a "moral obligation to see the donations go where they are supposed to go" -- implicitly suggesting that the funds may not find their way to a worthy source. Clooney, who is helping to organize the event, the proceeds of which will be donated to the American Red Cross, had a return message for O'Reilly: "No one objected to you investigating where the funds were going, but we strenuously objected to you insinuating that it was a fraud," he said of the 9/11 contretemps. "I don't make as much money as you, Mr. O'Reilly ... but I'm fascinated by your use of the word 'celebrity' as if you're not one ... I'm booking the talent for the tsunami event, and you ... are now officially invited to be a presenter. This way, you can personally follow up on our fund-raising. This is your chance to put your considerable money where your considerable mouth is." While O'Reilly does not appear to be jumping at Clooney's offer, so many other celebrities have that NBC may add another hour to the live broadcast of the telethon, "Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope," on Saturday night, bringing it to two hours. Set to perform are Madonna, Sheryl Crow, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Maroon 5, Norah Jones, Sarah McLachlan, Mary J. Blige, Lenny Kravitz, John Mayer, Kenny Chesney, India.Arie, Tom Jones, Eric Clapton, Roger Waters, Brian Wilson and Gloria Estefan. (Page Six, N.Y. Post)

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Worth waiting for? The publishers of Star Jones' forthcoming religion-infused self-help/relationship-advice book, "You Can Wait!" have put out a press release offering a tantalizing taste of what sort of wisdom we can look forward to receiving from the newlywed "View" star: "'In order to truly find love, one must love themselves completely.' In 'You Can Wait!' Star Jones presents a guide to getting yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually prepared for your soul mate. Told from her unique female Christian perspective, Star shows how finding your lifelong mate depends on how much you love yourself, and whether you are ready to accept God's promise of a blissful union between woman and man. By completing ourselves, we can better accept the love of another." Lordy. (Gawker.com)

Rather confusing: Remember how, when Dan Rather announced sometime back that he'd be vacating his CBS News anchor chair in March 2005, he and various CBS honchos insisted that his departure had nothing to do with the "60 Minutes Wednesday" faux memo scandal? Well, you might want to forget it. "Dan Rather has already apologized for the segment and taken responsibility for his part in the broadcast," network president Les Moonves reportedly wrote CBS staffers in a memo distributed yesterday, according to the Drudge Report. "He voluntarily moved to set a date to step down from the CBS Evening News in March of 2005 ... after examining the report and thinking about its implications ..." (Drudge)

Also: Wesley Snipes is rumored to have threatened director David Goyer with physical harm during the filming of "Blade: Trinity." "At one point, Wesley told David he was going to stab him. He's completely f---ing crazy," said a source. But Goyer's flack says Snipes was just Method acting. (Lowdown) ... After parents objected, a New Jersey middle school has declined to let Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie substitute-teach their students for a segment of "The Simple Life." (Associated Press) ... Hilary Duff has announced that she'll donate a portion of ticket sales from her "Most Wanted" tour to help children and families affected by the tsunami. (Associated Press) ... Rumor has it that Macauley Culkin is set to testify on behalf of his old buddy Michael Jackson during Jackson's upcoming trial on child molestation charges, but Culkin's rep says that the actor "is not involved in the proceedings at this time." (N.Y. Daily News) ... The new rumor is that it was not Angelina Jolie who got under Brad Pitt's skin and accelerated his split with Jennifer Aniston, but rather Jolie's 3-year-old son, Maddox, whom she brought to the "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" set every day -- and who got Pitt thinking seriously about parenthood. (News24) ... "Sideways" won big at the Critics' Choice Awards last night, though the film's director, Alexander Payne, lost the best directing prize to Martin Scorsese, who took it for "The Aviator." (Reuters)

Money Quote:
Al Franken, presenting Michael Moore's Best Non-Fiction Film award for "Fahrenheit 9/11" to producer Harvey Weinsten at the New York Film Critics Circle awards ceremony: "Harvey stood by this movie even in the face of sure signs of success." (Page Six)

Bernard Kerik offering inspiration to a group of corrections officers in his first public appearance since the whole Homeland Security debacle: "I'm 49 years old. I've had to fight to get where I'm at since I was about 3. I've learned along the way two things, trite as they may sound: that only the strong survive, and good will prevail over evil ... You gotta be strong, you gotta do your job you were sworn to do and take the challenge. Just do your best, ignore the critics, ignore the press. Don't cower to criticism." (N.Y. Post, N.Y. Daily News)

MC Hammer, before officiating at Motley Crue-man Vince Neil's marriage to Lia Gerardini in Vegas on Sunday: "It's Hammer Time!" (Las Vegas Review-Journal via E! Online)

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-- Amy Reiter

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