Lisa Bloom, who recently signed on as Michaele Salahi’s attorney, called EW to give her client’s version of what happened between the controversial Real Housewives of D.C. cast member and Whoopi Goldberg following the taping of the Aug. 3. episode of The View. Contrary to what Goldberg suggested on the air today, “Michaele Salahi never claimed that Whoopi hit her,” says Bloom, explaining that a producer who had noticed an upset Salahi backstage had used the word hit, not Salahi. Salahi was merely upset that the hosts had called her a “party crasher” (something Bloom says they’d agreed beforehand not to do) and that Goldberg had startled Salahi when she approached her from backstage during the live taping to request that she change the subject. [Click here for a rundown of Whoopi’s version of events from today’s View telecast.] Here’s what Bloom told EW:
“[Micahele] shows up for the live show [on Wednesday] and they call her a party crasher five times. Sherri Shepherd says ‘You should be in jail!’ The applause light goes on and everybody cheers. So that’s the context of what happened. Whoopi Goldberg was not interviewing Michaele. It was Joy and Sherri. Michaele is in this hostile context where everyone on the set is hostile to her. She’s answering all these questions about being anorexic and her husband throwing wine at someone. Whoopi comes from backstage behind her, touches her arm and says, ‘Excuse me, would you get back to the White House, please?’ That’s a very startling and strange event to happen on live TV.
I hosted my own show for eight years on Court TV. I did The Insider panel every day. I’ve got a lot of experience in television. I’ve never seen anything like that. It’s completely inappropriate. The subject of the White House dinner had not been raised by the interviewer[s] yet. They asked her about the wine-throwing and being anorexic, and that’s what she answered. It’s not appropriate for another host to come up from behind her and ask her, the guest, to change the subject. If Whoopi didn’t like the way the interview was going, she should have told Sherri or Joy or one of the producers.
“Despite all of that, Michaele maintained her composure throughout the show. After the taping was over, she went backstage and she was in tears. She was very upset. One of the View producers came up and said ‘What’s wrong?’ and she said ‘I can’t believe Whoopi came up behind me and grabbed my arm.’ So the producer takes off. Michaele’s now found a quiet office to sit in and cry with her husband. Whoopi comes barreling into the office and starts shouting, ‘Did you f****** say that I f****** hit you? I never f****** hit you. F*** you!’ Over and over and over again, screaming at her. Michaele says ‘What are you talking about? I never said that you hit me.’ Whoopi says, ‘Well that’s what I was told.’ So they get the producer in the room and the producer says ‘You’re right, hit was my word.’ So then Whoopi calms down a little bit and then [Michaele’s husband] said, ‘I think you owe my wife an apology.’ And Whoopi says, ‘I’m not going to apologize to her,’ and she leaves.
“I had a number of conversations with attorneys from ABC and The View. At the end of the day, they agreed to read a statement from me on the air. That’s not what happened at all. I was not told the truth. What happened [on the Thursday telecast] was that after a lot of sarcasm and snide comments about Michaele this morning, Elisabeth [Hasselbeck] wholly paraphrased a couple sentences about how Michaele was never charged with a crime, and they all made a little face. Well, the fact is she was never charged with a crime. The U.S. attorney in Washington D.C. released a statement saying they’ve never committed a crime and have never been charged. But I guess the people at The View feel otherwise. Without reviewing any of the evidence, they’ve decided that they are going to smear her. It’s unprofessional. I’ve hosted my own show for a long time. I’ve had a lot of people on who maybe I didn’t like or who I disagreed with. But you treat them with courtesy and respect, you allow them to answer questions. I would never go backstage and curse somebody out. I would never do that. And if I did lose my cool, I would apologize.
“[Salahi] has affidavits to support that she was invited to the White House dinner. She’s never been accused of a crime, and yet the media has this constant drumbeat that she’s a party crasher. That’s why I decided to step in and help her as an attorney, because I think this is outrageous.
“I do plan to contact the show again because I’m very disappointed. They missed an opportunity to set the record straight. What they chose to do today was just engage in more nastiness.”