Rosie O’Donnell took Live with Kelly & Ryan host Kelly Ripa to task in the book Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View, recalling an experience with the morning show host and former All My Children star for an awkward on-air moment with Clay Aiken.
It was back in 2006 during a period of time when Ripa was working alongside Regis Philbin and the morning show was called Live! With Regis And Kelly. Aiken had stepped in as co-host to fill in for Philbin. Aiken put his hand over Ripa’s mouth when he couldn’t get a word in edgewise, and in response, she quipped, “I don’t know where that’s been, honey.”
O’Donnell, who was hosting The View at that time, accused Ripa of being “homophobic” with that statement.
“If that was a straight man, if that was a cute man, if that was a guy that she didn’t question his sexuality, she would’ve said a different thing,” said Rosie, according to a story by TooFab.
O’Donnell reportedly stood up for Aiken after he opened up to her about his sexuality. He had not formally come out during the incident, which occurred in 2008.
“I think Kelly Ripa is mean and she doesn’t like me, and she has never wanted to discuss what happened,” reported Us Weekly of the comments O’Donnell made in the tell-all book, written by Ramin Setoodeh.
Ripa called O’Donnell’s claims “outrageous” during a call into to The View, where she reportedly took the moderator to task over her claims, telling O’Donnell that she should know better.
In Aiken’s eyes, Rosie’s on-air defense also basically “outed” him to the world.
“The truth is she outed me in a way because I had not been out yet. When she said the words, ‘If that was a straight man,’ she was confirming that she knew that I wasn’t,” Aiken said in the book.
He claimed the day Rosie made that statement on The View was one of the worst of his life and devastating, but he allegedly was not angry at her for her remarks.
Aiken allegedly turned down an invitation to go on The View to discuss what happened between himself and Ripa after the Live! faux pas.
Us Weekly noted that pals of Ripa are confounded as to why O’Donnell would bring up the incident in the book which happened so many years ago.
“This is absurd and offensive. Kelly has been supportive of and revered by the LGBTQ community. She has such love for them and the feeling is returned.”
The New York Post reported in 2006 that Aiken poked fun at the incident during an appearance at the American Music Awards when his co-presenter Tori Spelling cut him off mid-sentence and covered his mouth with her hand.