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Mizrahi won’t tone down red-carpet routine

E! official hopes commentator will take audience taste into consideration
/ Source: The Associated Press

Get over it, says Isaac Mizrahi. The fashion designer turned red-carpet renegade has no plans to soften his act come Oscar night March 5.

“I am going to meet people and I love doing that, and I’m not going to put a mask on to meet people now because of whatever interesting controversy was raised at the Golden Globes,” Mizrahi told The Associated Press in an interview this week.

His outlandish pre-show interviews for the E! cable channel at the Globes in January — during which he groped Scarlett Johansson’s breast, asked Eva Longoria about her pubic hair and peeked down Teri Hatcher’s dress — drew as much buzz as the awards themselves.

The openly gay fashion designer strongly defended his behavior.

“The thing is, I am very connected to popular culture, I am,” he said. “And I watch ‘Will & Grace’ and I watch ‘My Name is Earl’ and I watch prime-time television a lot and every other joke is about pubic hair ... So I don’t feel it’s wrong to talk about that on the red carpet,” Mizrahi said.

E! did not receive any official complaints from any of the actresses involved in Mizrahi’s Golden Globes escapades, it says, and issued no apologies. But the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation complained to E! about Mizrahi’s comment to Charlize Theron about her Oscar-winning role as a “scary dyke with no teeth” in 2004’s “Monster.”

Soon after, E! President and CEO Ted Harbert, emphasizing he didn’t condone the language, defended Mizrahi. “Isaac is the last person on Earth who could be accused of even the slightest degree of homophobia,” he said.

On Friday, he again defended Mizrahi, noting that the “vast majority of the reaction, critically and from viewers, was overwhelmingly positive.”

But, Harbert added, “I don’t expect there to be a repeat of some of those things that happened at the Golden Globes.

“The only thing I’ll say to Isaac is you have to always take into consideration what the audience’s expectation is ... We have a very broad audience, and viewers probably don’t have an expectation that there will be a great deal of edgy material.”

Oscar spokesman John Pavlik told the AP Friday that the film academy hadn’t laid down any rules and doesn’t “actually expect anything to happen.” But, he added, “We hope that all the people on the press line will behave in an adult manner, and won’t cross any lines considered lines in polite society. We would be displeased, and... they would find themselves in subsequent years having a harder time” working the red carpet.

As for continuing his ride as a pre-gala reporter, Mizrahi said he doesn’t “really plan to do much, much more of it.”

“I’m not trying to be the next Joan Rivers, I don’t want to do that,” he said. “But for me right now, it’s very interesting because it really is a great job.”