LOS ANGELES — Was it playfully outrageous, or just plain offensive? Live from the red carpet at the 63rd annual Golden Globes, E! correspondent Isaac Mizrahi groped Scarlett Johansson's breast, looked down Teri Hatcher's dress, asked Eva Longoria about her pubic hair and otherwise caught celebrities off-guard.
The openly gay fashion designer didn't mean to offend anyone, E! Networks President and CEO Ted Harbert told The Associated Press on Friday.
In fact, Mizrahi was just what the network ordered. He's already been assigned to carpet duty at the Academy Awards on March 5.
"I've hired Isaac because I felt the red carpet work on television, not just on E!, had become predictable, staid and frankly boring. What I wanted is someone who would bring surprise," Harbert said.
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But whether the staid Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will take kindly to a repeat of Mizrahi's Golden Globes behavior on its own red carpet is another question entirely.
"I have no idea what plans E! has on Oscar night. If they're suggesting they would do something similar on our red carpet, we would have some good discussions with them," said academy spokesman John Pavlik. "I can predict we would be extraordinarily angry if that happened on our carpet. I cannot predict what we would do afterwards."
E! has not received any official complaints from any of the actresses involved in Mizrahi's Golden Globes appearance, and no apologies have been issued, Harbert said.
However, Mizrahi's comment to Charlize Theron about her Oscar-winning role as a "scary dyke with bad teeth" in 2004's "Monster" elicited a formal complaint from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
Harbert responded with a statement Thursday: "While E! Networks does not generally condone the use of that word, we are totally confident that Isaac is the last person on Earth who could be accused of even the slightest degree of homophobia."
GLAAD spokesman Damon Romine said E! agreed to edit the word out of future airings of Mizrahi's encounter with Theron.
Mizrahi questioned a stream of actresses on the Golden Globes carpet about everything from what they were wearing — or not wearing — underneath their gowns to personal grooming habits.
He asked a purse-less Natalie Portman, 24, what she would do if she needed a cell phone, credit card or condom. Portman laughed.
He tugged on Hatcher's bronze halter to look for a hidden speech. "Oh my God, he touched my stomach and then he pulled down my dress!" she said.
Mizrahi asked fellow "Desperate Housewives" star Eva Longoria what her "hair was like down there."
"I'm sorry, I can't help myself," Mizrahi said, when called on his comments by co-commentators Ryan Seacrest and Giuliana DePandi.
Fascinated by Johansson's skintight red Valentino dress, Mizrahi squeezed her breast — twice. "What's going on!" she demanded.
Johansson was too busy working on a new film to comment, said her publicist, Marcel Pariseau, and representatives of the other actresses did not returned phone or e-mail messages seeking comment by late Friday.
Messages left at Mizrahi's New York office also were not immediately returned.
"I think he forgot he was on live television, and he talked to people as if he was in their living room, which is exactly what I wanted," explained Harbert. "As a fashion designer, he pokes and prods people's dresses every day."
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