by Kat Giantis
June 22, 2005
Oprah Winfrey probably won't be gushing over any Hermès products on her next frenzied "Favorite Things" episode. The New York tabloids claim the talk-show mogul, whose product plugs can spell big bucks for lucky corporations, was treated in a rude and possibly racist manner while trying to spend some cash at the company's Paris store last week.
According to the New York Post, Oprah was barred from entering the chichi shop when employees failed to recognize her because of her less-than-fabulous 'do.
"Oprah didn't have her hair done," a spy relates to the paper. "When she tried the door, they refused her entry because they have been 'having a problem with North Africans lately' and obviously had no clue who she was."
A rep for the supposedly coif-challenged billionaire (she made $225 million last year alone) confirmed to the Post that Oprah was in Paris, but that's all.
The New York Daily News also weighed in on the incident, claiming the Hermès staff did ID Oprah -- and deliberately denied her admittance.
"They knew exactly who she was," an Oprah insider insists to the paper. "They specifically said, 'We know who you are.'"
According to the informant, Winfrey turned up at the swanky boutique shortly after closing (there were supposedly still some well-heeled shoppers inside) and "politely asked" if she could pop in and pick up a watch she had her eye on for Tina Turner, whom she was breaking bread with that night.
The paper says a sales clerk and a manager both refused to say "oui" to the woman who makes dreams come true (at least for Americans), a move that probably won't bode well for their future with the company.
"If it had been Celine Dion or Britney Spears or Barbra Streisand, there is no way they would not be let in that store," the spy rails to the News. "We are calling it Oprah's 'Crash' moment." (The pal is referring to the recently released ensemble drama about racism; Oprah, the paper points out, has not labeled the incident as such.)
The Big O, who recently shelled out for a dozen sought-after Hermès Birkin bags (the same spendy model Martha Stewart toted to court), later gave an earful to the company's U.S. prez, says the paper, telling him she would be taking her business elsewhere. She also canceled an order she had recently placed for yet another pricey purse.
And in news that could spell financial disaster for the upscale firm, the paper says Winfrey is considering sharing the snub with her multitudes of oh-so-loyal viewers.
Not surprisingly, Hermès has gone into damage-control mode, issuing an apology while offering up its side of the story. "Hermès regrets not having been able to accommodate Ms. Winfrey and her team and to provide her with the service and care that Hermès strives to provide to each and every one of its customers worldwide," the store said in a statement (via CNN). "Hermès apologizes for any offense taken due to such circumstances." Winfrey, it says, arrived 15 minutes after closing and was rebuffed because "a private PR event was being set up inside." (Oh, the irony of turning away Oprah to aid public relations ...) The store says it has surveillance video that verifies its version of events.
As for the "North Africans" comment made to the Post, a company spokeswoman tells CNN says "there was never any discussion" about that and insists "the story is not true."
She adds that the firm's CEO has called Oprah's reps to explain what happened and to invite her (and her bottomless bank account) back to the store.
Lindsay's 'Herbie' Hissy Fit
Is Lindsay Lohan having some trouble letting go of her role in the kiddie flick "Herbie: Fully Loaded"? USA Today reports the ubiquitous teen queen was exhibiting some childish behavior at the premiere Sunday night in Los Angeles.
According to the paper, Lohan, 18, tossed a tantrum when the screening ended, storming into the lobby and declaring, "I'm so [angry]." Her overworked minders, perhaps sensing an impending explosion, hustled her into the ladies' room for what the paper describes as "a 12-minute cooling-down period."
So what was so distressing to the skin-and-bones starlet that she would risk a public snit? Did Jessica and Ashlee Simpson show up with Wilmer Valderrama in tow? Did her dad break out of jail to wish her well on her big night? Were paparazzi circling around her luxury ride?
Nope. Turns out she was all revved up over where her song ended up in the pic.
"I was upset when I didn't hear my song ["First"] during the race scene, where I originally thought it would be," a mellowed-out Lohan explained to the paper. "I was like, 'Whoaaa,' because nobody stays to hear the song in the closing credits. So I ran out."
The ditty, it seems, has deep significance for Linds: "I recorded it right before I got sick and went to the hospital [in October, for 'exhaustion']. And then I shot the video for it and re-sprained my ankle. I pushed myself to get it done for the movie when I probably should have waited."
In related news, has Lohan found time in her busy schedule of club-hopping, weight-dropping and foot-stomping to cozy up to a new man?
The New York Post says the actress, who has been linked to such disparate guys as Aaron Carter and Christian Slater (a rumor denied by both parties), has been "discreetly dating" easy-on-the-eyes Elefant frontman Diego Garcia, 27.
But when contacted by MSN Entertainment, Lindsay's rep pooh-poohed the wooing reports, insisting they are "not true." Lindsay also denied them during her sit-down with Matt Lauer on the "Today" show (she added that her fat-free frame is a result of "puberty").
Lindsay, by the by, recently dished to Elle, "Black guys love me," listing off Damon Dash, P. Diddy and 50 Cent as some of her many admirers. She also revealed she has a soft spot for Eminem: "I'm in love with him!"
Meanwhile, despite apparently revealing a wee bit more of her cleavage than she intended while yukking it up with Jay Leno last week (yes, we know where you can see the screen cap, and no, we're not gonna tell you), Lindsay brushes off the idea of going au naturel on the big screen.
"You will never see me in a nude scene," she tells "Access Hollywood.' "Then there's no mystery for my private life."
Yeah, yeah, we know -- there's mystery? For real? Anyhoo, Lindsay doesn't think her decision to remain covered up will affect her plans to land a gold bald guy ...
"I think there's a way ... for those kinds of things to be tastefully done and you don't need to show that," says the thespian. "I don't think that's what's needed to win an Oscar for me ... I think there's other things you can do to show people that you have talent."
And in still more Lindsay news, it turns out the "Herbie" premiere wasn't the only bathroom-centric incident she was involved in recently. The Boston Herald says she jumped ahead of a long line of patrons, including Jessica Alba, to use the facilities at a just-opened L.A. hotspot.
"Jessica, who is on the board of this new business venture, didn't pull rank," a mole tells the paper.
Lindsay supposedly stopped to chat with Jess before making a beeline for the sole stall with a door.
And finally, Lohan's dad might soon have some company in the slammer. The New York Daily News reports the star's uncle, Paul Sullivan, 47, was arrested on Long Island Tuesday for mail fraud after he allegedly engaged in a scheme to pocket 9/11 relief funds. Sullivan, the brother of Lindsay's mother, Dina, told the paper it was all "a misunderstanding."
Is Clooney Flying Solo Once Again?
For all those armchair matchmakers trying to pair off Jennifer Aniston, we have good news: A very eligible bachelor may be back on the market. The London Mirror claims George Clooney has called it quits with British starlet Lisa Snowdon, whom he has lightbulb dated (you know, off and on) since 2000. The pair purportedly decided to end things a couple weeks ago over the phone.
"It's always difficult to maintain a long-distance relationship," a snitch tells the paper. "They have remained great friends and there is no animosity between them. Lisa last saw George in L.A. at the beginning of May. They spoke on the phone regularly but they began to realize that the relationship had nowhere to go."
This is the second breakup rumor to hit the couple in recent weeks. In mid-May, Us Weekly reported that Clooney, 44, had given Snowdon, 33, the heave-ho, with a chatty pal telling the mag, "He's telling everyone he just couldn't stay with her anymore -- they're just too different."
But Snowdon's rep was quick to throw cold water on the split talk, asserting at the time, "They are perfectly happy."
Snowdon recently said she wasn't fazed by the geographic issues surrounding her relationship with the onetime Sexiest Man Alive.
"He can have a lot of girls," she told the London Evening Standard, "but I could find someone super-cute in London, too."
Denise on Charlie Split: 'Hardest Decision I've Ever Made'
It's only been three weeks since Denise Richards gave birth to daughter Lola, her second bundle of joy with now-estranged husband Charlie Sheen. But in between changing poopy diapers, suffering sleepless nights and finding time for her 15-month-old daughter, Sam, the newly single actress managed to squeeze in an interview and photo session with Us Weekly.
"I never in a million years thought I would be in the position I am today," Richards admits in the latest issue of the mag. "Life is what it is. I just have to make the best of it."
Denise, 34, who filed for divorce in March after nearly three years of marriage, says that separating from Charlie was "the hardest decision I've ever made in my entire life."
While she doesn't reveal the reasons for the split (he has denied any recidivist bad-boy behavior), she does confirm that Sheen was with her in the delivery room.
The couple even spent some quality time together last Saturday in L.A. with their new addition, although they are quick to deny any talk of reconciliation.
"I have many moments where I'm not feeling brave," Richards tells Us. "But at home, I have two girls to now focus on. I have to put on a brave face. I have to take care of them, be happy and keep things positive. It's really important."
Concludes Denise, who debuts this fall in the UPN sitcom "Sex, Lies & Secrets," "Right now, I'm thinking about being a good mom.'"
Legal Lowdown: Cage, Cruise, DiCaprio, Affleck and More
You know that sexually suggestive junk mail that litters your inbox every day? Nicolas Cage wants you to know he's not to blame. According to "Celebrity Justice,' an old e-mail address of the Oscar winner's (NCSaturn7@aol.com, in case you were wondering) has been co-opted and used to send out very naughty messages to the star's acquaintances. Cage's rep tells "CJ' that the actor "would like to make the general public aware that somebody has illegally and fraudulently" been impersonating him. The phony mails are currently under investigation.
In other legal news, it turns out Tom Cruise can take a joke. Katie Holmes' more litigious half has decided not to pursue the pranksters who sprayed water in his face during the London premiere of "War of the Worlds." "He's not pressing charges," his sister-turned-laissez-faire-publicist Lee Anne DeVette tells "Entertainment Tonight.' "These guys aren't worth the time or energy." Meanwhile, TomKat's PDA-filled promotional tour continued this week in Madrid, where they met up with Cruise's ex, Penélope Cruz, at a local Scientology center, reports Hello! magazine. The perma-lip-locked lovebirds also joined Cruz's family for dinner, with the Spanish starlet's gracious dad declaring, "Katie is a really beautiful person."
Did a housekeeper to the stars suffer from a severe case of sticky fingers? Reuters reports a 35-year-old maid was arrested this week for allegedly pilfering jewelry, clothing and credit cards from such famous faces as Robert De Niro (and wife, Grace Hightower), Candice Bergen and Isabella Rossellini. Mrs. De Niro's missing $95,000 earrings were reportedly recovered from the maid's apartment on Monday. The maid could face 15 years behind bars on charges ranging from grand larceny to forgery.
Leonardo DiCaprio is going after the woman who allegedly cut his pretty face with a beer bottle. According to the AP, the actor has filed a police report over the incident, claiming he was attacked with a deadly weapon last Friday while exiting a soiree at the home of Rick Salomon (best known as Paris Hilton's sex-video partner in crime). Police are investigating. In a statement to People, Leo's rep said the woman in question was "trespassing and had been repeatedly asked to leave the property," adding that she "was reportedly looking for an ex-boyfriend, who she had apparently physically assaulted on prior occasions." Extra says the star, who needed about a dozen stitches to close the wound on his neck, is currently back on the Boston set of the Martin Scorsese-directed drama "The Departed."
There are still a few people who can't resist Ben Affleck's charms. The Boston Herald says the actor was pulled over by police in Vancouver, B.C., for making an illegal U-turn while trying to get away from some tailing paparazzi. But Ben, who had just deposited reported fiancée and future baby mama Jennifer Garner at a gym, was reportedly let off with just a warning.
Paris' New Digs, Snippy Dog
For Paris Hilton and Paris Latsis, nothing says "I love you" quite like an ostentatious display of wealth. Case in point: Not only is Hilton hauling around a honkin' diamond engagement ring, but her billionaire honey has apparently dug through his couch cushions to come up with the cash for some deluxe new digs.
"Access Hollywood' reports Latsis plunked down $12 million for an 11,000-square-foot Beverly Hills mansion after his fiancée admired it during a party.
The palatial, Mediterranean-style pad (just the thing for the Greek shipping heir), which received a flamboyant makeover from Esquire magazine, was once home to footballer Keyshawn Johnson.
Meanwhile, does Paris' teacup Chihuahua Tinkerbell have an attitude problem? The New York Post says the peewee pup sank its teeth into the hand of a "Today" show producer on Tuesday.
The quivery tail-wagger was appearing on the program with Paris' mom, Kathy Hilton, who is out promoting her widely panned new reality series, "I Want to Be a Hilton."
Paris couldn't attend the taping, so Kathy figured "Tink was almost as good," an insider tattles to the tab. And the dog, like its world-dominating owner, apparently had no intention of letting the little people get too close.
"Tinkerbell wasn't kidding -- she really bit in good," a spywitness tells the paper. "The producer had to shake the dog off -- it was a nasty bite."
The Post says Kathy, who was holding the huffy pooch in a Louis Vuitton carrier on her lap, offered only a half-hearted apology to the victim.