Pop Culture

Reagan gives PETA an executive order: Back off

Nancy Reagan and PETA are battling it out over the image of her late husband.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was planning to use Ronald Reagan’s picture in a campaign promoting vegetarianism as a way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. “Win one for the Gipper” read the ad, which showed a smiling photo of the 40th president. “Animal fats DOUBLE your risk of Alzheimer’s.”

PETA president Ingrid Newkirk recently wrote to Nancy Reagan, outlining the research that supports those conclusions. “[W]e hope that you will be happy that we chose your husband’s powerful image (we have purchased the photograph) and used it most respectfully to capture people’s attention,” Newkirk wrote. “We realize that you are exceedingly busy, but if you could spare a few moments, this campaign would be helped significantly by a brief note of support from you.”

Nancy Reagan not only didn’t send back a letter of support; her people fired off a cease-and-desist letter. “Discontinue any use of President Reagan’s name, signature, quote, image or likeness,” came a missive from Kirby Elizabeth Hanson, Director of Business Development for the Ronald Reagan Foundation. “You have no authority, license or consent from President and Mrs. Reagan (or their legal representatives or licensee) for such use.”

“We were hoping to get Nancy Reagan’s endorsement, but the truth is — because he was a public figure and because we’re not looking to sell a product or make money off his image — we don’t need her permission,” a PETA insider told The Scoop. So PETA is doing an on-line poll at PETA.org to let the public vote as to whether they should use Reagan’s photo.

“This is an important issue, but it’s a sensitive one as well,” the insider told the Scoop. “We’ll defer to public opinion on this one.”

Another convert?

Frank Micelotta / Getty Images North America
NEW YORK - JULY 1: (U.S. TABS OUT) Singer Brandy appears on stage during MTV TRL Times Square Film Festival Week at the MTV Times Square Studios July 1, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Brandy

Looks like Brandy is dabbling in Scientology.

While the R&B star insists she hasn’t joined the controversial group, she has been taking Scientology courses.

“It basically consists of questions that probe really deeply into your life,” Brandy told Africana.com. “You are confronting all of your experiences, and I knew, ‘If I could confront every experience in my life and be cool with it, then nothing could stop me.’ They ask the questions, and you provide the answers. I am not a Scientologist, but I do love what I have experienced.”

“Things are looking up for Scientology in its competition with Kabbalah for celebrities,” Rick Ross of Cultnews.Com told The Scoop. “Brandy is a viable star and it’s been a long time since Scientology snagged a good one.”

Notes from all over

Chris Polk / AP
Matt Damon arrives to the world premiere of "The Bourne Supremecy" at the Cinerama Dome and Arclight Cinemas in Los Angeles on Thursday July 15, 2004. (AP Photo/Chris Polk)

Before “The Bourne Identity” was a hit, Matt Damon was facing the prospect that he might be box office poison. But he says he didn’t panic. “Right before [‘The Bourne Identity’] came out, I hadn’t been offered anything for a year because ‘The Legend of Bagger Vance’ and ‘All the Pretty Horses’ had both bombed,” Damon told the London Mirror. “I actually stayed very calm. I still felt I’d be able to work, maybe do theater and lower-budget movies.”. . . . George Clooney was spotted in Bel Paese, Italy, where he is reportedly shooting an ad for Fiat. . . . Avril Lavigne is not a Clay Aiken fan. In its September issue, hitting newsstands later this week, Blender magazine asked the “Complicated” singer what’s her least favorite song. “I don’t want to be mean, but the Clay Aiken song — ‘Invisible’,” Lavigne replied. “It sounds like a weird old church song or something.”

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