The drama hit a new high on Monday night’s Celebrity Apprenticewith the airing of #Phonegate and Dish Nation sat down exclusively with the show’s frontrunner, Leeza Gibbons, to get her take.
Gibbons was nice enough to welcome Dish Nation’s Dallas host Kellie Rasberry into her Los Angeles home recently and aside from having something nice to say about each and every competitor on the show this season, the former Entertainment Tonight correspondent didn’t hold back when it came to the incident between Kenya Moore and Vivica A. Fox.
“It was a new low,” Gibbons said, referring to what is now known as #Phonegate — when Moore allegedly stole Fox’s cell phone and tweeted out inappropriate and private things to Fox’s account, like stating she was going through menopause.
“These are physical states of a woman’s condition that were inappropriate for the board room. These conditions have nothing to do with someone’s ability to perform a task or succeed in business, and I’m horrified. But this last phonegate situation was different because this involves behavior that was potentially criminal. That was the allegation. That was what had everyone in the cast feeling so uncomfortable. When it all went down we were not just in a state of shock but we were a little bit numb because we were like, if this happened what’s next?”
Moore denied taking Fox’s phone and sending out the tweet during Monday night’s boardroom meeting on Celebrity Apprentice, despite earlier saying she had “tricks up my sleeve” if she should end up on the bottom. Fox also claims she did not post the following tweet and that someone (ahem…Moore) stole her phone and wrote:
“This menopause is killing me I cant think straight, im acting a damn fool half the time 50 just isnt sexy”
“Betrayal. And I’m telling you we all double locked our doors that night. We really did, and moving forward feeling that we were looking at the person on our left and the person on our right, and wondering if anyone was who we thought they were,” Gibbons told Dish.
“It was an unfortunate turn of events but I don’t know that we will ever really know all of the truth behind what happened, and I don’t pretend to have the answers myself, but I only saw what America saw in that boardroom. That’s a sad reality, and that’s a shame.
“To have someone misrepresent another individual like that and be part of an escapade where you betray another teammate for personal gain or for whatever reason, and using that particular storyline to do it makes it all the more heinous.”
As for how Donald Trump handled the incident, she believes he and his son Eric were both equally stunned by it.
“Here’s what I believe to be true. I don’t think Donald Trump saw it coming. I don’t think Eric Trump saw that coming. I think they uncovered that in real time and they were as stunned as anyone,” Gibbons said.
“I think they handled it with the amount of decorum that was appropriate in real time.”
Gibbons, 57, says Phonegate made her question people’s scruples when it comes to business — and how far they will go to get what they want.
“It was very compelling television. It was irresistible. You could not turn away from it, because it brings up all kinds of questions that we all debate,” the mother-of-two said.
“How do we feel about what’s appropriate in business? How do we feel about what advantage we would use over another individual and when is it appropriate to trump someone else in life? Would you do it would you not? Would you protect someone would you not? Would you then lie about it or only when you got caught? All those things are valuable discussions to have and that’s the reason why this show works.”
Fun fact: Gibbons hosted the Miss USA pageant when Moore was crowned. “Kenya I do not know, but I did host the pageant when she became Miss USA. Big old crown on her head in 1993. And I know that beauty pageant contestants are very competitive,” she said.