Hillary and Condi's Split Second of Grafted-On Fame
Somehow we failed to mention a major event in which the media, Hollywood and politics converged last week. No, not the services for Ronald Reagan -- we mean a movie promo for "The Stepford Wives" that depicted Condoleezza Rice as a topless hottie and Hillary Clinton as a bosomy housewife holding a baking sheet.
Paramount's commercial very briefly showed the national security adviser and the senator being morphed into Stepford clones: Rice's head appears on a body nude from the waist up, arms covering the chest, while Clinton displays more cleavage than you'll see in her official new portrait.
"I thought teenage boys had gotten ahold of it and were playing a really bad joke," Rebecca Reynolds, a sharp-eyed TV viewer in Kansas City, Mo., told us yesterday. "Henry Kissinger was national security adviser 30 years ago, and if he had been used in this way at the time, I don't think it would have been tolerated."
Disturbed by the images, Reynolds called a local TV station where, as it happens, a reporter named Maria Antonia also had noticed the commercial and proceeded to do a story on it. "I thought it was odd," Antonia said. "One can only guess what their train of thought was in picking these two women."
Evidently Paramount thought they suited the film's premise about smart, powerful women being turned into robotic sex objects. "The movie is a comedy and we were just having fun with the themes of the movie and it was never intended to offend anyone," Nancy Kirkpatrick, the studio's public relations chief, told us yesterday. The commercials, which aired nationally last week, are no longer on: "That part of the campaign is complete," she said.
If Clinton and Rice are upset, neither is saying so. Clinton wouldn't comment. We asked a spokesman for Rice if she intended to see the movie. "I don't believe so," he said. We can't blame her.
A Rake & 'Bad Hammers'?
* Two District nightclubs figure in a scandal involving Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who has been accused of philandering by former police officers in his security detail. The ex-deputy police chief and two former bodyguards claim in lawsuits that Kilpatrick sought to derail their careers because they blew the whistle on his alleged misconduct. The mayor, who occasionally visits Washington on official business and also to visit his mother, Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick, D-Mich., calls the allegations "completely false."
One particular deposition, given by ex-officer Walter Harris, makes for interesting reading. Harris says Kilpatrick, a 34-year-old married father of three, scouted for women at Dream in Northeast and Zanzibar on the Potomac. "Yeah, we're going to go to Dreams [sic]. Man, you're going to see some bad hammers," Harris quotes the mayor as saying.
Bad hammers, Harris said, means "nice-looking women." The date of the trip is not specified.
After three hours, the entourage left Dream and went to Zanzibar, Harris recounted. "As he's walking through the club he began dancing with some female. . . . You know, he was looking around."
Later, Harris said, "I saw this -- it was a female standing outside the limo." She got in and "the mayor put his arm around her." Kilpatrick took the woman to his hotel, according to Harris. "And that next morning when it was time to pick the mayor up, we went back to that same room on the sixth floor and we could hear him talking to the female inside the room. . . . We were kind of laughing, because, you know, she was still there. She stayed all night."
Kilpatrick is "happily married," spokesman Howard Hughey told us yesterday in rebutting the claims. "Individuals making these salacious allegations want money, and they'll say or do anything to get that. It's a travesty." He said Michigan's attorney general and state police have investigated "all these alleged rumors surrounding the mayor and found them without merit as well."
Five, Four, Three . . .
* On his show the other day, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly apologized to Texas columnist Molly Ivins for calling her a socialist. Now liberal author Eric Alterman wants a retraction from O'Reilly, who recently labeled him a fellow traveler of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
Alterman's Miami-based attorney, Sarah Clasby Engel, sent a demand letter to O'Reilly last week, saying, "We would like to take this opportunity to identify a lie you recently broadcast." On his show in early May, the conservative yakker called Alterman "another Fidel Castro confidant."
Threatening a defamation suit unless O'Reilly makes a retraction, Engel states: "We are certain that you will be unable to point us to any proof whatever of a personal relationship between Alterman, a proud anti-Communist liberal, and Fidel Castro." The letter notes that in mid-May, Alterman signed a public rebuke of Castro, assailing the "brute repression" of his dictatorship.
The lawyer gave O'Reilly five business days to respond. A Fox News spokesman told us the missive arrived only yesterday and "our legal department is reviewing it."
With Anne Schroeder