Names and Faces: Mitt Romney, Skyler Berry, Lindsay Lohan, Tareq Salahi
Rapper says Romney grabbed him
Kevin Smith isn't the only celebrity with an airplane fracas under his belt! On a flight from Vancouver to Los Angeles on Monday, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney was involved in a pre-takeoff confrontation -- and now Berry Gordy's grandson says he was the one on the receiving end of Romney's "condor grip."
Skyler Gordy -- otherwise known as Sky Blu, one-half of Grammy-nominated duo LMFAO and grandson of the Motown founder -- told his side of the story in a video posted on TMZ.com Friday: After reclining his airplane seat to relax, Romney (sitting behind him) loudly asked him to straighten it. When he didn't, Gordy says, Romney grabbed his shoulder. "I just react -- boom -- you know, get off of me," Gordy says in the video, swinging his arm through the air. "And I didn't take it any further than that. I just wanted the man not to touch me." Gordy was escorted from the plane and detained briefly before catching another flight.
When questioned by the Associated Press, Romney rep Eric Fehrnstrom did not comment on whether Gordy was the man on the plane -- although aides said Romney told them he thought the man was in a band. Fehrnstrom told the New York Daily News that the other man "became physically violent" when Romney asked him to move his seat. Romney "did not retaliate but instead let the airline crew respond to the incident," Fehrnstrom said.
LMFAO had been in Vancouver to perform. Romney and his wife, Ann, had been in town to attend the Winter Games. "I have no hard feelings towards him," Gordy says in the video. "I'm sure he's a good dude."
Lohan complying with probation
Lindsay Lohan is keeping it together.
At a hearing in Beverly Hills on Thursday, a judge said "everything looks good" with Lohan's progress in a court-ordered drug and alcohol education program, the Associated Press reports. Lohan pleaded guilty in August 2007 to two misdemeanor counts of being under the influence of cocaine and no contest to drunken driving and reckless driving charges. The drug and alcohol program is a requirement of her probation.
Lohan, 23, initially had difficulty completing the program on time, and her probation was extended last year. This time, no extension: The judge says Lohan must complete the program by July.
Salahi cruise update
On Thursday, our colleagues Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts reported that Tareq and Michaele Salahi were slated to be guests of honor that night on a Potomac River cruise-ship party hosted by scenester Web site Brightest Young Things. So, how'd that go?
It didn't. We hear the White House dinner crashers got press-shy, backing out at the last minute after hearing media would be on the boat.
Spotted: Actor Wesley Snipes -- who remains free on bail while he appeals a 2008 conviction for not filing income tax returns -- dining Thursday night at Ben's Next Door on U Street. The actor (black turtleneck, black wool cap) was in town for a screening of his latest, "Brooklyn's Finest," at the nearby Lincoln Theatre. He ordered the sweet potato fries.
Quoted: "Miss Franklin can get around." -- Aretha Franklin, 67, to Time magazine, asserting that her decision to no longer fly has not hindered her career. "When I was flying," she said, "I never saw the U.S. and what it really looked like. I saw the back of the concert hall, the hotel and the airport. Now I really see America." Her last time on a plane -- "such a bad flight" -- was in 1982.
-- Marissa Newhall, from staff, wire and Web reports