Rosie, Kelly, and Clay — oh my.

Rosie O'DonnellRosie O’Donnell started a battle royal with Kelly Ripa on today’s episode of The View — and appears to have outed Clay Aiken in the process.

Here’s how it went down: Clay Aiken, feeling he couldn’t get a word in edgewise, physically silenced Kelly Ripa by covering her mouth on Friday’s episode of Live. Kelly, clearly incensed, responded by telling him that was a “no-no” and then “I don’t know where that hand has been, honey.”

That was the end of the story until today, when Rosie said that Kelly’s remark was homophobic, and proceeded to pretty much out Clay. Kelly Ripa called The View to defend herself, and told Rosie that “not everything is homophobic.”

Where to even begin? There’s the outing, the homophobia, the germophobia, the sexism (’cause as Sherri Shepherd said, would Clay have done that to Regis?), and the weirdness of two gay-friendly people — one of whom was very closeted for a long time — fighting about someone who’s not even out.

What (and who) should be silenced, and what shouldn’t? I think most of us would rather not hear what O.J. Simpson or Mel Gibson or Michael Richards thinks about anything at all for a while. But where are the lines when things aren’t so, um, black and white?

Kelly Ripa’s sitcom, Hope and Faith, had an openly gay executive producer, and before today Kelly’s probably never been seen as a homophobe. And it’s clear that it’s important to her to be seen as fair-minded. It was also simply disrespectful of Clay to cover Kelly’s mouth. So maybe she just responded instinctively by hitting him where she knew it would hurt.

It’s a very thick plot. Rosie was closeted for over a decade, and nobody pushed her out. She told her staff (and probably her guests) not to say anything about her sexuality. Sure, she’s out and proud now, but does that give her license to say she “feels for the kid” and that Clay is in a “difficult space”? I mean, let’s face it: Clay’s probably gay (if I were invisible, I could watch him in his room and prove it), but he has carefully responded to the question, and shouldn’t celebrities come out when they want to?

I have no answers; only questions. But, to quote my girlfriend, “Clearly I’ll be taping Live with Regis and Kelly tomorrow.”

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