NEW YORK — A feud between “The Real Housewives of D.C.” cast member Michaele Salahi and “The View” co-host Whoopi Goldberg escalated Thursday when the infamous reality show figure told NBC’s “Today” show that Goldberg peppered her with profanities after her appearance on the daytime talk show.
Less than an hour later, a defiant Goldberg responded on the air. “I make no apology for my choice words,” she said on “The View,” adding that she was upset by an allegation that she hit Salahi.
It’s the latest dust-up involving the Virginia socialite, who first stepped into the limelight in November when she and her husband, Tariq, allegedly attended a reception for a White House state dinner without being on the official guest list. That prompted the Secret Service to launch an internal investigation, saying its procedure wasn’t followed, and Congress to hold a hearing on presidential security. The Salahis refused to testify at the hearing, invoking the Fifth Amendment. Since then, they have repeatedly insisted they were invited.
The incident that kicked off the newest furor occurred Wednesday, when Salahi and her fellow castmates appeared on “The View” to promote their Bravo show, which premieres Thursday.
During an interview conducted by co-hosts Joy Behar and Sherri Shepherd, Goldberg came out from backstage, lightly touched Salahi’s arm and said, “Excuse me, could you get back to the White House, please?” according to a full clip aired by “The View” on Thursday.
According to the Salahis’ attorney, Lisa Bloom, Salahi was “unnerved” when Goldberg came up to her on stage and felt demeaned and degraded by the whole experience because of the frequent references that she was a “gate crasher.”
After the taping, Salahi was crying backstage and, according to ABC, told a producer that Goldberg “hit” her. Salahi maintains that she merely said that she was upset that Goldberg had come up behind her on the air and “grabbed” her arm.
Both sides agree that the exchange that followed was heated: Goldberg went into Salahi’s dressing room and had an angry confrontation with the “Housewives” cast member and her husband. “Her husband got in my face, had his BlackBerry out and started taking pictures of me,” Goldberg said on Thursday. “And needless to say, I really went off then. And there was even more choicer words. I mean, they were so choice, you could have cut them with a knife and eaten them.”
On “Today,” Salahi said that she wasn’t upset about what Goldberg did on the air but how she treated her afterward. “I think I started crying because now I have someone I don’t even know, I’m a guest of their show, and they’re berating me,” she said.
Salahi’s fellow cast mates, who appeared with her on “Today,” didn’t appear to buy her claims. The four other women repeatedly exchanged looks of exasperation and said they were fed up with her and all the attention she generated.
“This is a show about five people,” said Mary Schmidt Amons. “We’re so finished with it.”
Lynda Erkiletian, the one cast member who was friends with Salahi before the show, said she no longer trusted Michaele and Tariq: “They live a phony fake Bonnie-and-Clyde life.”
The drama, coming right as Bravo launches the show, appears likely to heighten interest in the program.
“It’s perfect, perfect, because you couldn’t pay for this kind of publicity,” noted “Today” co-host Kathie Lee Gifford.
The Associated Press