“This is a celebration of women who change the world and no one can understand why Rupert Murdoch is on the dais,” emcee Rosie O’Donnell told the crowd at yesterday’s Matrix Awards. (In fact, he was there to introduce Cindy Adams.) “He’s a man who makes me take Heprin. I mean that in the most, kind loving way,” she continued. The crowd, though slightly uncomfortable, was with her until she said, “Rupert Murdoch can change the facts just like that,” which fell completely flat.
It was while reminiscing about her visit to the Matrix Awards in 1997, when the “f*cking” microphones didn’t work that O’Donnell dropped her first F-bomb. While some of the crowd laughed, from where we sat it was clear that more than a few folks felt O’Donnell’s blue routine was out of place for an event that had minutes before introduced a squadron of young women in an effort to encourage female role models.
The main target of O’Donnell’s ire throughout the afternoon? Murdoch’s empire and employees. She delivered one great line, introducing the media mogul: “While he seems to have a lot of power, he couldn’t keep Sanjaya on American Idol.” But, after Murdoch gave Adams her award, O’Donnell veered into overkill, marveling at the media mogul’s accent and asking: “Am I the only idiot that didn’t know he was not from America?” That’d be a “yes.”
When Richard Johnson unsuccessfully tried to bolt before the end of the lengthy awards presentation, O’Donnell bellowed from the stage, “Richard Johnson is leaving! What happens if I have sex with someone at Table 10 — you just make sh*t up anyway.” Later, a sheepish Steve Dunleavy got the same treatment.
As the afternoon wound down, O’Donnell’s View castmate Joy Behar introduced Vieira, noting that when her friend left the ABC chatfest for NBC, “it was a Sylvia Path moment for me.” Vieira, who Behar revealed had just returned from a weekend trip visiting Stanford where her eldest son will start as a freshman next fall (a secret until Behar spilled the beans in her intro) said self-deprecatingly while accepting her award, “I feel like a bit of a fraud, since I don’t feel like a woman who has changed the world but rather a woman whose world changes her.” Then, like a true View alum, she shared this pearl for fellow media women seeking workplace equality: “Your vagina can open doors, but it can also be used against you.”
For her part, O’Donnell got strangely saccharine when she introduced the afternoon’s final presenter, her boss Barbara Walters, there to give Arianna Huffington her award. Calling her a “living legend,” O’Donnell went on to describe Walters as a “good friend” and “mother figure to a motherless daughter who’s always looking for one.” Walters accepted, saying, “I have an adopted daughterâ€¦ You would have been different,” but was sure to add, “Everyone knows I love and respect Rosie.”
— Diane Clehane
FishbowlNY Coverage of Matrix 2007: