UPDATE: Rosie Enters Idol's Frenchie Fracas
On Tuesday's The View, Rosie addressed the fact that Frenchie Davis was booted off American Idol in season 2 for once appearing on an adult Web site and Barba remains on the show. "Why is it that Frenchie was kicked off and this girl was not?"
When cohost Elisabeth Hasselbeck suggested that it might have been because Davis's site was for pay, O'Donnell said she did not buy the argument.
"I think it's racist. I do," said O'Donnell, adding in reference to Davis, "I think it's because she's black."
She added (eventually sounding like Elmer Fudd), "It's weightist and wacist, too, you wascally wabbit." Furthermore, O'Donnell said of Barba, "She can't sing a note, by the way." (TMZ.com ran a clip of the show on its Web site.)
Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe issued a response to O'Donnell's comments on Wednesday. "Without wishing to add to the obvious self-promotion of Ms. O'Donnell, I feel as though I must refute her absurd and ridiculous claims that American Idol is racist and/or weightist," he said in a statement. "Ms. O'Donnell has, once again, spoken without thought or knowledge. Viewers need only look at the show tonight to realize that American Idol constantly confirms to America that talent has nothing to do with weight or color."
Yet Davis herself has questioned the fairness of the situation. "I think it's fantastic if Idol has evolved and I think it's fantastic she won't have to go through what I went through four years ago," the singer told the New York Post. "But if the rules have changed, I believe there should be something to make up for the fact that I was humiliated needlessly."
But the singer – who says she was upfront about her racy photographs when she auditioned for the show – has a group of people fighting on her behalf. Civil-rights activist Najee Ali is leading a protest on Tuesday at the Kodak Theatre – where Idol tapes – to protest why Barba has been allowed to remain. "It's unbelievable that such movement is being made for me without me having to say a word," Davis said in a statement.
Since leaving American Idol, Davis has enjoyed a steady run in the Broadway hit Rent, which she'll leave on May 24. Afterwards, Davis told the Post she plans to perform at nightclubs and work to create arts programs in inner-city schools.