Did Siegfried & Roy give gifts to the government officials who were assigned to inspect their show? That’s the explosive allegation being raised by an animal rights group. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is alleging that would-be inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture were given free tickets to the pricey, hugely popular Las Vegas act. And they’re saying that may have caused the inspectors to go easy on the animal-training act.
“Peta suspects that favoritism or bribery may have played a role in the USDA’s repeated failure to cite Siegfried & Roy for the unsafe handling of adult tigers who were routinely allowed dangerously close to the audience with no safety barrier,” PETA wrote to USDA General Inspector, Phyllis Fong, in a letter obtained by the Scoop. “We kindly ask that this matter be fully investigated and that appropriate actions be taken.”
“It’s clearly a conflict of interest,” a PETA spokesman tells the Scoop. “The USDA has turned a blind eye to red flags that they clearly should have noticed. This may explain why.”
Spokesmen for the USDA and Siegfried & Roy didn’t return calls.
No web reporters, please
Russell Crowe thinks he’s figured out why he gets bad press — and it’s not his penchant for punching people. The Gladiator feels he’s been getting a bad rap from those nasty Internet reporters and so he’s banning online journalists from his upcoming junkets and press conferences promoting his upcoming 20th Century Fox film, “Master and Commander,” according to various reports.
“The (alleged) beer-swilling bruiser is so paranoid about the Internet that a source at 20th Century Fox states he’s not only banned online journalists from the press junket and premiere of Master And Commander,” reports BBC on line, “he’s also making ‘approved’ reporters sign agreements promising not to post any soundbites on the Internet.”
Neither Crowe nor 20th Century Fox returned calls. But the Scoop is flattered.
Notes from all over
The Asian leg of Mariah Carey’s world tour isn’t shaping up like her promoters had hoped, says a source, and some gigs may get cancelled. . . . Jerry Hall quit Kabbalah after the group’s leaders pressured her to hit up her wealthy friends for donations, according to reports. . . . Look out Moby. Christina Aguilera is losing her hair. The body-baring singer has dyed, extended, curled and dreadlocked her tresses so many times that it’s falling out, reports the London Daily Mail.
Jeannette Walls delivers the Scoop Monday through Thursday in MSNBC Entertainment.