Names and Faces: Kathy Griffin speaks out against ‘don't ask, don't tell'

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Griffin ruffles feathers

What a fine line the celebvocate must walk! Comedian and reality-TV star Kathy Griffin visited Washington this week -- primarily to lobby for repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy -- and managed to ruffle feathers on both sides of the aisle.

After a Human Rights Campaign-sponsored rally Thursday at Freedom Plaza, Griffin raised some eyebrows by failing to show up at a White House demonstration led by Lt. Dan Choi. Choi, an openly gay West Point alumnus, was a last-minute addition to the HRC rally's list of speakers. From the lectern, Choi put Griffin and HRC President Joe Solmonese on the spot, asking them to march with him to the White House later that day. According to a report in the Advocate, Griffin said, "Of course!" and Solmonese gave a thumbs-up . . . but neither showed up at the protest, where Choi and another gay service member were arrested after chaining themselves to a fence.

In a statement, HRC said Solmonese felt it was more important to "stay and engage" the people at the HRC rally. Griffin took to Twitter to praise Choi: "I understand he's been arrested in front of the White House," she wrote. "I dig that dude." A rep for Griffin could not be reached on Friday.

Griffin also managed to get in a barb for Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) at Wednesday night's Radio & Television Correspondents' Association dinner. "I asked her if she was naturally a bigot or if that's just the way she legislates," Griffin told the crowd at Thursday's rally. "She said: 'That's a good question. I'll have to think about that.' " A Bachmann aide confirmed the exchange to MinnPost.com, saying his boss approached Griffin at the dinner to tell her she looked great. When Griffin suggested she was a bigot for her anti-gay stances, Bachmann "just tried to dismiss it and walk away," the aide says.

Estate won't get money

Anna Nicole Smith's estate won't receive a penny of the $300 million fortune that she claimed her late billionaire husband had promised her, the Associated Press reports.

A federal appeals court in San Francisco made the ruling Friday, the latest step in a 15-year legal battle over the $1.6 billion estate that oil magnate J. Howard Marshall left after his death at age 90 in 1995. Smith married Marshall in 1994 and, after his death, insisted that he meant for her to have a hefty sum. A Texas state court later ruled in favor of Marshall's son, saying Smith should receive nothing; subsequent cases awarded Smith varying amounts of cash.

Smith died of a drug overdose in 2007. Marshall's son, E. Pierce Marshall, died in 2006. Lawyers for his estate say they hope the litigation ends with Friday's ruling.

End notes

Unhappy: Rob Fusari, who says he is Lady Gaga's ex-boyfriend and former manager, is suing the pop star for $30.5 million. Fusari says Gaga was his protégée, a "young Italian girl 'guidette' " who ditched him as her career took off; in court papers obtained by the New York Post, he says he came up with her stage name and co-wrote some of her hits, including "Paparazzi." Gaga's reps declined to comment.

Hired: Radio personality Big Tigger will replace Donnie Simpson as WPGC-FM's morning-drive host, the station announced Friday. Simpson retired in January after 32 years on the air. Tigger has been hosting WPGC's afternoon programming for the past three years.

Fired: Aiden Chase, the Malibu "intuitive psychic" whom "The Hills" star Heidi Montag hired to be her manager mere weeks ago. In a statement to People magazine, Montag said she has parted ways with Chase and will manage her own career. Why the sudden change of heart? "Unfortunately recent behavior by Mr. Chase on the set of both 'Just Go With It' starring Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston and Nicole Kidman and 'The Hills' have made me question" Chase's judgment, Montag, 23, says. Intriguing! Alas, she did not elaborate.

-- Marissa Newhall, from staff, wire and Web reports


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