Bette Midler to Lady Gaga Fans: “It was Just a Joke!”
By Victoria Leigh Miller
This week on “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” the legendary Bette Midler sat down with Oprah Winfrey to talk about her long career in showbiz. But the Divine Miss M also set the record straight regarding last year’s mermaid misunderstanding with Lady Gaga.
So what did Bette Midler have to say about the tweet she made last year that had Lady Gaga’s little monsters up in arms?
Last July, after Gaga performed a concert song dressed as a mermaid in a wheelchair, Bette sent a reminder to the pop star. Her testy tweet: “Dear @ladygaga if you think a mermaid in a wheelchair seems familiar- it’s because it is! You can see it on youtube 24/7- with ME performing it.”
At the time, Lady Gaga said she was unaware of Midler’s mermaid past. She told “Access Hollywood’s” Billy Bush, “I had no idea that she did that and I’m a huge Bette Midler fan.”
“Maybe we’re just cut from the same cloth,” the “Born This Way” singer added. “I couldn’t hop around in that tail so I just stuck myself in a wheelchair.”
After Gaga’s fans became irate, Bette later tweeted an olive branch: “Let’s drink this over at the Emmys in September. Fabulous mermaids can coexist!”
During her chat with Oprah, Miss M told the Queen of Talk that the whole thing was overblown and called it “a gag.”
“I’ve been doing a mermaid in a wheelchair since 1981,” she told Oprah of her signature character, Dolores de Lago. When she saw a clip of Gaga’s mermaid bit, she sent the pop star the infamous tweet to jokingly let her know who came first. “Just to be funny I said, ‘Honey, you can keep the meat dress but the mermaid is mine,'” Bette told Oprah.
Naturally, some of Gaga’s young fans became irate over the suggestion that their idol was a copycat. While Midler prefaced the story by asking the Gaga fans not flip out, she said, “It was just a joke! It was a gag.”
“It was a meat and mermaid joke,” Oprah said.
After last year’s mermaid flap, Midler even said Gaga had her blessing to take some of her clothes. In an AP interview she talked about an auction in which she was putting up 300 of her outfits and accessories — including some wheelchairs!
“I think [Gaga] should go for a real wheelchair and a real fishtail because these are really beautiful. They are decorated and hand-beaded,” Midler said. “If she is interested, she can have whatever she wants because she is a very talented girl, and I love her a lot.”