Tough questions, brittle smiles, few answers, as Tareq and Michaele Salahi submit to tense "Q&A Cafe" in Georgetown
UPDATED: Can't get enough? See a video of Carol Joynt's Salahi interview here.
Tareq and Michaele Salahi have a new reason for ducking questions. Not merely a pleading-the-Fifth thing, as when Congress subpoenaed them after the White House state-dinner-crashing. Now that they're about to be TV stars -- on Bravo's "The Real Housewives of D.C." -- it's a no-spoilers thing.
What did producers know about the crashing, and when did they know it? Why does Bravo PR describe the Salahis' shuttered winery as a thriving business? And other questions were dodged as the Salahis played featured guests Thursday at a "Q&A Cafe" luncheon at the Georgetown Ritz-Carlton.
"There are some things in the show, in upcoming episodes, we can't talk about," Tareq told the sold-out crowd. Said his wife: "You have to watch and see what happens."
Walking into the luncheon was like stepping into a reality show -- not just because of all the cameras (none of them Bravo's, actually), but the tension between the Salahis and host Carol Joynt, the feeling a table could get flipped at any moment, and that all were enjoying the drama.
Joynt, in recent days, had conducted a reality show of her own on her blog, airing her hesitations and confusions over whether the Salahis would show up. PR folks were whispering that, oooh, the other Housewives had bypassed this event for another party we should check out a mile away. And much of the ladies-who-lunch audience seemed gripped by the illusion that they were watching a TV show from home, their wisecracks just a little too loud.
It started off friendly. Joynt asked if the Salahis needed Bravo's permission to speak: "Bravo needs you more than you need them," she cooed. Michaele said they'd accepted Joynt's invitation because "there's no better person in the community more respected than you." Producers first approached her, she said, in March.2009. "They said, 'You always look very stylish, and you're out on the charity scene in D.C., and you're very well known,'" she said. "I was the first casted."
The smiles quickly turned brittle -- Joynt noting she'd never heard of the Salahis before last year, and Michaele insisting that Joynt had recalled seeing them at a Wolf Trap gala, and Joynt retorting she'd never been to one.
Would the "Housewives" money get the Salahis out of debt? They declined to say. Joynt noted the couple still could be charged in the White House incident: "How would you like to spend time in the D.C. prison system?"
"There doesn't need to be this hostility!" Michaele exclaimed, the smile growing tighter. "You're like, grrrrr!"
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A few more questions, then Joynt said, "We're all out of time!" There was no applause.
The Reliable Source
June 18, 2010; 1:05 AM ET
Categories: Real Housewives of D.C. , White House crashers
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