Model citizen Campbell likes to phone a head

Posted: March 31, 2006

YOU CAN knock her off the catwalk, but you can't remove her claws.

Naomi Campbell, the definition of a tough boss, was charged with second-degree assault yesterday after cracking her housekeeper in the head with a phone during an argument in her Park Avenue apartment, police said.

The moody model was taken into custody shortly after police went to Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan to investigate the reported assault.

Campbell was charged after questioning at the Midtown North Precinct, where scores of photographers, reporters and film crews awaited her exit.

According to police, Campbell's housekeeper received four stitches in her head and told police that Campbell had attacked her.

The incident allegedly happened about 8 a.m.

In a statement, a Campbell spokesman said the supermodel had not been responsible for an assault.

(It was the phone's fault.)

"We believe this is a case of retaliation, because Naomi had fired her housekeeper earlier this morning," said the statement from J.R. Johnson. "We are confident the courts will see it the same way."

Maybe. But it's not as if Naomi hasn't long been a hothead hottie.

In 2003, she was sued by an ex-aide who alleged that Naomi had thrown a phone at her during a tantrum.

(She does seem to have phone issues.)

Campbell pleaded guilty in Toronto to an assault charge for beating another assistant while making a film in Canada in 1998.

She has also battled a cocaine addiction.

A flammable suit

Special-effects tech Steven Scott Wheatley alleges that negligence caused him to be severely burned in an explosion on the set of "Mission: Impossible III."

Wheatley's lawsuit claims he suffered third-degree burns over more than 60 percent of his body when a Chevy Suburban "rigged with pyrotechnical material" accidentally exploded and engulfed him in a fireball last June 6.

He is seeking unspecified damages for negligence, pain and suffering, lost earnings and medical costs. His wife is also seeking damages.

Smoke inhalation?

Defendants in the suit include Viacom (parent company of Paramount Pictures); the owners and managers of the Agua Dulce Movie Ranch; the production company owned by Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner, and various people on the set that day.

Cruise obviously would have preferred if Wheatley had experienced a silent burn.

A cheap suit

Lonnie Jones, Randy Jones and Silas Dukes, three former bodyguards of Britney Spears, have filed suit claiming they worked long hours and were not paid overtime.

(Brit needed only two guards before she put on the weight.)

The suit names three companies - Britney Brands Inc., Britney Touring Inc. and Team Tours Inc. - as responsible for not properly compensating the men.

Together, the trio is seeking damages exceeding $25,000 for unpaid wages and benefits, their lawyer said Wednesday.

The suit says Randy Jones and Dukes worked 12- to 16-hour shifts and were required to be on call 24 hours a day during trips with Spears. Lonnie Jones worked 12-hour shifts.

The men claim they had been paid only a "straight salary," had missed meals and had not receive OT.

The men also said they were laid off last year without receiving a final paycheck.

One word for you guys: Union.

Tattbits

* At the HBO party in NYC for Rosie O'Donnell's "All Aboard Rosie's Family Cruise," Tattle's Baird Jones cornered Barbara Walters and asked her about the London Times story claiming she had gotten her start in show biz as Babs Elliot, child tap dancer.

"What was your favorite dance?" he asked her.

"I was never a tap dancer," said Walters, shrugging off the story. "It was all a joke. It is just an urban legend. All I did was take tap-dancing lessons."

* George Clooney's Oscar gift bag fetched $45,100 in an extended online auction that began March 21, United Way spokeswoman Sheila Consaul said.

The money will benefit the United Way's hurricane-response and relief-recovery fund.

* Just weeks after its launch, the Chinese-language edition of Rolling Stone may be done after authorities said they had dissolved its agreement with a local partner.

The reason for the dissolution wasn't clear, and a government official denied the magazine had been ordered to stop publication.

So in case the purchase of the Inquirer and Daily News doesn't work out, here's another opportunity for Bruce Toll and Brian Tierney to get into publishing.

* Latest celeb-romance rumor: US Weekly says Teri Hatcher is with Ryan Seacrest.

Whatever.

* First the sitcom goes, then the wife.

The National Enquirer is reporting that former "Friends" star Matt LeBlanc filed for divorce yesterday from his wife of almost three years, Melissa.

The Enquirer says the couple split in January, soon after "Joey" was canceled.

The couple have a 2-year-old daughter, Marina, who suffers from the seizure-causing brain disorder cortical dysplasia. LeBlanc is stepfather to Melissa's two kids from a previous marriage, Tyler, 13, and Jacquelyn, 10.

* Tattle expects a film like "Brokeback Mountain" to be banned in countries like Malaysia, where the only thing they have a high tolerance for is bans.

But we were stunned yesterday to learn that the film had been banned in the Bahamas.

"The [Play and Films Control Board] chose to ban it because it shows extreme homosexuality, nudity and profanity, and we feel that it has no value for the Bahamian public," Chavasse Turnquest-Liriano, liaison officer for the board, said Wednesday.

Guess it's not better there for everyone. *

Send e-mail to gensleh@phillynews.com

|
|
|
|
|