Pop Culture

Whoopi defends Mel: 'I know he's not a racist'

While Mel Gibson stands accused of many things in the wake of his alleged irate rant recordings, from physically abusive behavior toward ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva to issuing a thinly veiled death threat, pal Whoopi Goldberg hopes to clear the actor-director’s name when it comes to one claim. On Monday’s episode of “The View,” Goldberg insisted Gibson was no racist.

Although Goldberg made no effort to deny that it was Gibson’s voice heard using a racial slur on one of the tapes, she did point to her personal experience with the star to counter public opinion.

“I don’t like what he did here, but I know Mel and I know he’s not a racist,” Goldberg told unconvinced co-host Joy Behar.

Rather than calling him racist, Goldberg repeatedly referred to Gibson a “bonehead” for his supposed bad behavior.

“I have had a long friendship with Mel,” the actress-comedian stated. “You can say he’s being a bonehead, but I can’t sit and say that he’s a racist, having spent time with him in my house with my kids. … I don’t like what he’s done. Make no mistake.”

When challenged by Behar and reminded of Gibson’s infamous anti-Semitic rant, Goldberg blamed the past problems on booze, but added that she believed he was a sober bonehead this time.

“This rant, I don’t think he’s drunk on this rant,” Goldberg admitted.

Sticking up for Gibson isn’t exactly out of character for controversy-courting Goldberg. In the past, “The View” co-host has made headlines for her unexpected defenses of Michael Vick, Jesse James and Roman Polanski.

La Toya claims Michael consulted surgeon ‘to make Bubbles speak’ In the early 1980s, Michael Jackson rarely made an off-stage public appearance without beloved chimpanzee Bubbles by his side. But according to La Toya Jackson, the late superstar’s sister, he hoped improved communication would one day bring him even closer to his pet pal.

“Michael always wanted to know how to make Bubbles speak and talk,” La Toya revealed in a quote published in The News of the World. “They definitely communicated. One morning Michael called me and said, ‘You got to see this — he mimics everything I do.’ So Michael starts brushing his teeth and Bubbles looks up and gets a toothbrush and starts brushing his teeth too.”

Eventually, the universal language of dental hygiene just wasn’t enough for the King of Pop and his favorite chimp.

“Then (Michael) wanted to give him vocal chords and asked doctors, ‘Can I give him an operation so that I can know what his thoughts are?’ ” La Toya recalled.

In the end, the singing legend decided the risk (and perhaps the impossible nature) of such a surgery just wasn’t worth it.

Dish on the fly
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige recently announced actor in the upcoming “Avengers” movie because there’s a “need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members” — in other words, not Norton. It didn’t take long for the actor’s rep to return fire, calling Feige’s statement a “purposefully misleading, inappropriate attempt to paint our client in a negative light.” After the suits settled down, a mild mannered Norton addressed the issue himself on Facebook. “Hulk is bigger than all of us,” he wrote. “That’s why we love him, right?” Right. Well, that and the smashing. … Former “Baywatch” babe Pamela Anderson has decided she’d rather age — gracefully or not — than hold back the years with cosmetic procedures. “I haven’t done Botox,” Anderson told Fabulous magazine. “I don’t like all that facial stuff. It scares me. You see these people who have had it, and they all look the same. I just don’t think I should go that way, especially at 43. I think I should just age. I’ve never been the prettiest person, and I don’t feel I need to chase youth.”

Tabloid Tidbits is compiled by Ree Hines. Follow on Twitter to gab about the latest gossip.

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