Television personality Star Jones has angered Anderson Cooper with her allegation that he came out publicly as a gay man as a way to get ratings for his syndicated talk show Anderson Live.
Cooper, who also hosts a nightly show on CNN, shares with his daytime audience in a segment airing Thursday (4 October) that Jones is far off the mark.
‘I will say and I actually haven’t mentioned this, the only thing that did kind of annoy me and actually it annoyed my mom who brought it up to me, Star Jones of all people,’ he says to guest Andy Cohen who is also openly gay.
Cooper’s mom, of course, is Gloria Vanderbilt.
‘I haven’t thought about Star Jones in I don’t know how long,’ he added. ‘I was unaware she was even on TV still. But she apparently shows up on a morning show. Out of the blue Star Jones said this was a ratings ploy by me to boost ratings.’
If he had wanted to exploit his personal revelation for ratings, Cooper said he would have been much more savvy about it.
‘If I was wanting to boost ratings, I would have waited to announce it on ‘A Very Special Episode’ that would have been [promoted] for weeks and weeks and there would have been commercials: ‘Anderson’s Huge Announcement.’ and you would have a cut away of the audience but instead I was in Africa on assignment for 60 Minutes, I sent an email to a friend of mine who put it on a website. I gave no interviews about it, I never talked about it. I wasn’t even on the air for days afterward and so suddenly Star Jones, who as memory serves, in terms of boosting ratings, I seem to recall her hocking her wedding every single day to get free products when she was on The View and I seem to recall her lying about her gastric bypass surgery and making everybody else lie about it as well. So for her to suddenly emerge out of the shadows and suddenly attack me for this, I couldn’t believe it.’
He adds: ‘My mom was like, ‘Who is Star Jones?’ Anyway, so I can’t even believe I am bringing this up because I don’t even want to give Star Jones the attention.’
But Cooper says he did invite Jones, a former co-host of ABC’s The View, to appear on his show to discuss her comments but she declined.
‘I would think she would want as much publicity as possible given her penchant for wanting publicity,’ he tells Cohen.
Cooper came out publicly as a gay man over the summer in an email to journalist Andrew Sullivan but had not commented further until the season premiere of Anderson Live when guest co-host Kristen Chenoweth brought it up.
Cooper shared with the audience that he had been out in his personal life since he was in high school.
‘I told my friends, I told my family, I’ve always been out to my coworkers and stuff,’ he said. ‘It’s just not something I talked about publicly because as a reporter I didn’t think it was appropriate. It didn’t seem part of my job.’