Arabic TV channel apologizes for weird 'gay shame' celebrity list

Jonathan Hayward/APA Middle Eastern TV channel has apologized for saying Sir Elton John

The Middle Eastern Broadcasting Center says it's very sorry for airing a “gay shame list” of celebrities. Not for claiming being gay is shameful, as one would think, but for outing straight celebrities, claiming Elton John was married in a dress and being utterly plagiarized to boot.

No Pulitzers for them, then.

The channel, which the U.K.'s Independent says reaches 150 million Arabic speakers, lavender-listed stars this week in a segment by “Arabs Got Talent” host Raya Abirached, apparently moonlighting on “Hosts Got Homophobia.”

The list, also on the channel's website, identified straight actors Cameron Diaz and Daniel Radcliffe as gay, and outed celebrities such as Ricky Martin and Jodie Foster, shocking grandmas everywhere. Most puzzlingly, it claimed John “wore a wedding dress” to his nuptials with partner David Furnish.

The channel, known for programming such as “Citruss Shopping World,” blamed a “junior editor” for plagiarizing the article from a website and “offending a list of popular celebrities loved and followed in the Arab world.”

GROUNDHOG GOES TO THE LIGHT

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is enemy No. 1, at least in groundhog circles.

The New York Post revealed Thursday that Charlotte, a Staten Island Zoo groundhog, died just a week after the mayor dropped her during a Groundhog Day photo opportunity. Charlotte, who predicted a long winter, was found dead a week later from internal injuries. The zoo didn't alert any officials about the animal's demise.

As jokes about a #Groundhoghazi cover-up and impeachment fears whirled, The Associated Press dryly offered perhaps the best epitaph for poor Charlotte: “Her shadow was one of the last things she saw.”

QUICK TAKES

Drag superstar RuPaul has joined opposition to Facebook's requirement that people use their legal names on the site; the Menlo Park company has deactivated hundreds of drag queens' profiles. … Kim Kardashian was shoved at a fashion event in Paris on Thursday by a Ukrainian prankster who has previously harassed Brad Pitt and Will Smith on the red carpet. … Stefan Lyon, 18, of San Francisco has won the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes after raising $120,000 to build three schools in Kenya by writing and selling children's books.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

A's pitcher Sean Doolittle is 28. … Sharks defenseman John Scott is 32. … Tennis player Serena Williams is 33. … Singer-actress Olivia Newton-John (“Xanadu”) is 66. … Actress Donna Douglas (“The Beverly Hillbillies”) is 82. … Former Philadelphia Athletics pitcher Bobby Shantz is 89.

Got scoops or Bay Area celebrity gossip? Email scoop@sfexaminer.com.

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