I remember meeting Rosie O’Donnell briefly as as a young teen, as she signed autographs outside the Broadway version of Grease, where she played Rizzo.
When it was my turn to approach the star, she hesitated for a minute before signing my Playbill- and she looked down and said, “I only sign for kids.” I suppose I had gotten to the point where I looked possibly older than my age, and I got the impression that O’Donnell tried to limit her interaction with fans that were adults. So when I read that Rosie is afraid of “little people,” I immediately thought of the other, Hollywood definition- but it turns out that, no, Rosie O’Donnell is also afraid of TLC-show type of little people.
The talk show star and former View host was hanging out with Chelsea Handler on the OWN Network when an exchange between the two women occurred that many little people (and non-little people) have found offensive on a multitude of levels. Rosie first admitted her phobia of little people- which, using the “black test” (imagining the conversation as if it occurred about black people), fails miserably in terms of acceptability.
But Handler kind of went in the opposite direction- and still managed to be at least as offensive. When asked by O’Donnell if she had “done” a little person, Handler giggles that she hadn’t, because that would be “child abuse.” O’Donnell had said:
“I’m a little ashamed about it… I have a mild fear or anxiety around little people… I can’t put [sex and smaller adults] together. This is an adult person, but it’s a little person, but they have adult… it’s so hard for me.”
“I love little people. Whatever you have, I have the opposite. I want to tackle them. I see them and I have to hold myself down. I bite Chuy sometimes. He comes into my office and he’s so cute. That’s my ultimate body, if you’re going to have a little person. I want that shape, the corpulence.”
Watch the clip in which Rosie O’Donnell discusses her fear of little people with Chelsea Handler, below.