Jewish World Review Nov. 18, 2003 / 23 Mar-Cheshvan, 5764
Clay Aiken neuters PETA?; THEM'S FIGHTIN' WORDS!; a mural for Joe
NEW YORK People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is always testing limits.
Now the zealous animal rights group has hit a brick wall with its provocative ad ostensibly against dog and cat overpopulation that features Triumph the Insult Comic Dog pooping on "American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken.
Monday, PETA's Ingrid Newkirk said her organization is delaying and possibly killing the ad (which was supposed to show up on New York streets this week) after being swamped with protests from the singer's fans and getting an ominous call from his attorney.
If PETA received the kind of letters I did, I can well understand why they might be getting cold feet. "I, as a Clay Aiken fan, feel the need to express my indignation at the coarse, tasteless, crude remarks made insulting this wonderful young man," wrote Minnesotan Barbara Blanchura in a typical reaction. "I will do everything a viewer, as well as a supporter of animal rights and a consumer of those products supporting this type of humor, can do to show my resentment."
The ad, as we reported exclusively last Thursday, features the potty-mouthed dog puppet urging: "Get Neutered It Didn't Hurt Clay Aiken."
On Monday, Newkirk told me: "We're in a slight holding pattern. We're always flexible. We got a lawyer calling, and our lawyers said maybe we can work something out, make the ad evaporate, and put a leash on the insult dog."
Aiken apparently became a PETA target after he was quoted in Rolling Stone saying he hates cats and once ran over a housecat. PETA fired off a letter demanding that he retract his verbal claws, and affirm that "cats are deserving of kindness, respect and love, and that everybody should always be kind to animals."
When the singer didn't immediately respond, PETA pounced. "We're always nice at first," Newkirk explained.
THEM'S FIGHTIN' WORDS!
I know from personal experience that Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes tends to get really, really annoyed when anyone so much as hints that he might enjoy a close relationship with the Bush White House.
Ailes who in a former life, as a Republican media consultant, worked for Richard Nixon and George Bush the elder will say till he's blue in the face that he gave up politics for journalism long ago.
So at Monday's star-studded lunch at the Plaza Hotel, where the non-profit Center for Communication honored News Corporation President Peter Chernin, movie director Peter Farrelly was on thin ice when he joked about his upcoming Murdoch-financed comedy "Stuck On You," concerning the separation of conjoined twins. "In that spirit," Farrelly announced, "Roger Ailes is getting his lips surgically removed from Karl Rove's a ."
The quip got a huge laugh and a few "oooohs," though I'm told that someone later came up to Farrelly's target to commiserate that "it was in bad taste, much like his movies." Ailes declined to comment, but Farrelly was probably prudent to leave town on a plane back to L.A. right after lunch.
HOLDING HER NOSE: Is Boldface Names gossip Joyce Wadler of the New York Times hanging up her poison pen after only a year? I'm told she has been in discussions about doing something else at the paper. "I like some things about the column, but my background is in books and magazines and long pieces. I kind of miss that," she said. "I liked having long conversations with people." Executive editor Bill Keller said he hopes Wadler parties on, dude. "I hope she'll keep doing it as long as her stomach can stand it," he said. "She writes the first postmodern gossip column, and I just love it. It works so well in part because she finds that world a little repulsive."
A MURAL FOR JOE: Nearly a year after the untimely death of Clash singer/guitarist Joe Strummer, a bunch of his friends Jim Jarmusch, Steve Buscemi, the punk band Rancid and Niagra club-owner Jesse Malin have filmed the spray-painting of a mural of Strummer at the downtown club. "It's one of those real Latino-style murals," Malin said. "It says 'Know your rights' and then 'The future is unwritten' on the side. And his name, obviously. And the dates of his life, 1952-2002." Malin added that the video is for "Redemption Song," a Bob Marley cover from Strummer's posthumous album with the Mescaleros, the band he started after The Clash. During Sunday's filming, "there were people lighting candles, and I left a bottle of tequila and some daisies for Joe," Malin said. "The mural will be up forever."
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© 2003, Creators Syndicate