If you asked yourself "Where was the publicist?" when "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson went off on gays during his big interview with GQ magazine ... TMZ now has the answer ... the publicist was not there!
Sources very familiar with the situation tell us ... a publicist did indeed accompany Robertson to the interview -- per A&E's rigid PR policy -- and the interview took place in several locations. When the GQ reporter and Phil hopped on ATVs, the publicist didn't come along for the ride.
We're told it was then the reporter apparently saw an opening and Phil made his incendiary anti-gay comments
It's pretty shocking ... because Phil is widely known as a loose cannon ... so it's a little like playing Russian Roulette to let him gallivant off with a reporter.
Cleared of Horrendous Child Abuse Allegations
12/20/2013 3:20 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Steve Harvey was accused by his ex-wife and 11-year-old son of brutally beating the boy ... but Harvey's rep tells TMZ the comedian has been cleared.
A judge found Mary Harvey in contempt Thursday and sent her to jail for leaking sealed information about the alleged incident to the media.
As for the incident ... according to a police report -- obtained by TMZ -- Mary claims Steve got a phone call from the boy's school informing him his son lied about turning in homework. According to the kid, Steve hit him with a belt and then a paddle board -- the kind used for hazing in fraternities.
According to the police report ... cops took photos of the boy's injuries, showing bruises on his buttocks and right thigh, as well as cuts on his leg. The police report says the boy told cops, the beating was so brutal he had trouble urinating for days.
The matter was then referred to the Texas Dept. of Family and Protective Services. Steve's rep tells TMZ, the Dept. concluded, "Based on the information obtained, the child does not appear to be at risk ... the case is closed without further investigation."
Mary believes that it's all a cover-up, and she's been on a campaign for several years to expose him. But yesterday the judge had enough and felt she violated the protective order in the case and threw her in jail for 30 days.
How Dare 'X Factor'
Joke About My Drinking Problem
12/20/2013 2:12 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Demi Lovato is furious at the producers of "X Factor," grousing that she was blindsided by a skit that mocked her addiction ... TMZ has learned.
Mario Lopez introduced a skit which showed clips of Demi drinking what looked like booze, acting annoying and off center.
Demi is extremely upset because addiction has turned her life upside down. It got so bad, she was living in a sober house for more than a year just to avoid temptation.
You can see her reaction on the show ... at one point it appears she says "That's f**ked up."
Demi's already said she's leaving the show, but now it's pretty clear ... for her it couldn't be soon enough.
We contacted reps for the show ... so far no word back.
Shaq Secretly Negotiated To Put Our Kids On TV
12/20/2013 12:09 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Shaunie O'Neal claims Shaq is full of BS when he says he was always opposed to doing a reality show with their kids ... and says she has it in black and white ... he's lying.
Shaunie filed unsigned contracts and correspondence with the court -- obtained by TMZ -- in which it's clear ... Shaq was negotiating to become a part of the reality show. Shaq was negotiating not only his participation in the show, but his 4 kids as well.
Shaunie submitted a sworn declaration from the head producer, who claims Shaq gave him the green light to do the show, only to withdraw permission after saying the show is "not a good look for me."
But Shaq tells a very different story. Sources connected with him tell TMZ ... he initially was open to doing the show until he learned one of his kids had a serious learning problem in school. He also wanted creative control to protect his kids and that was denied. Shaunie claims Shaq was offered creative control.
Best Xmas Song Ever?
WE HAVEN'T WRITTEN IT YET!!
12/20/2013 11:02 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
I'll NEVER Bury the Hatchet
with Peter Hitchens
12/20/2013 6:21 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Matthew Perry is engaged in a war with a British journalist ... a war that has no end in sight -- and it's all over how the U.K. treats drug and alcohol addicts.
Perry was at LAX yesterday when we brought up his fiery exchange with Peter Hitchens on BBC's "Newsnight" ... in which Hitchens (who believes in stronger punishments for drug users) argued that addiction is nothing more than a "fantasy."
During the show, Hitchens went off on Perry and another guest ... saying, "Well you two believe in this fantasy of addiction, a complete fantasy, in which people lose all power over themselves and become victims of this terrible, frightening disease after which they cannot stop taking drugs. If you really believe that then you would presumably think that the best thing would be they never ever come in contact with those drugs."
Perry was furious ... calling his comments "ludicrous" and explaining, “I'm a drug addict. I'm a person that, if I have a drink, I can't stop. And so it would be following your ideology that I'm choosing to do that.”
Now that a few days have passed and the two have had a chance to cool down, we asked Perry if there was a chance they could ever be friends.
Perry made it clear ... Hitchens shouldn't ever expect a Christmas card.
I'll Rap At Super Bowl Party
For $2 MIL!
12/20/2013 1:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Eminem got an offer he COULD refuse -- an offer to sing at the NFL Owners Party during Super Bowl week that did not meet his price -- $2 MILLION!
Sources connected to the party tell TMZ ... reps from the event were looking for a headline act for the party that followed the dinner, which will be attended by 1,500 lucky folks. When Eminem's agents laid out the financial terms, we're told the owners group passed.
We're also told the owners were interested in Kanye ... but his fee was too high as well. As one source put it, "It was $1 million, plus plus plus a lot of other perks."
There will be a slew of singers performing at various events in NYC during Super Bowl week. We're told DJs are the big thing ... and the big ones are going for between $750K and $1 million.
So, we gotta ask ...
VH1 Star Real
My Cancer is Almost Gone
'It's a Miracle'
12/20/2013 12:40 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The star of VH1's "Real Chance of Love" went under the knife Wednesday night to remove huge chunks of cancer from his colon ... and TMZ has learned the operation was a guarded success.
A rep for Ahmad Givens a.k.a. Real tells us ... when doctors began operating Wednesday night they thought he had colon cancer. Turns out it was stage 4 rectal cancer and they were able to remove it all.
But there was another problem. Real also had 7 tumors in his liver. Doctors removed all but a small portion that was deep in the liver. The docs are hopeful ... with radiation they can eliminate the remnants of his liver cancer.
Bottom line .... going into the surgery, it looked like Real was a goner, but now he has a good, fighting chance of survival.
In the world of medicine, that's what you call a successful operation.
I'm Sleeping With Julius Caesar
12/20/2013 12:30 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
French Montana has added to his menagerie of exotic animals, with a gift that has a tendency to throw feces at you.
We got video of French and his new little friend ... an adorable baby monkey named Julius Caesar.
The monkey was a surprise gift from producer Mally Mall ... who presented the banana enthusiast to Montana on board his private jet.
We're told French has been bottle feeding JC ... and even slept with him last night.
FM is no stranger to wildlife. Earlier this year, he posted a picture of him holding two tiger cubs, with this caption: "Got so high last night bought 2 baby tigers."
Okay, Everybody... Vooo Lar Eh...
12/20/2013 12:20 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
"Volare" -- the Italian song made famous by Dean Martin -- is the centerpiece of a nasty legal battle ... and it will determine who gets to sing it ... and where.
You know the song -- Voooo lar e oh oh oh oh ....
Part of the fight is over who controls the rights to the American version -- the music publisher or the family of the guy who co-wrote it when it was first recorded in Italy in 1958.
There's a lot at stake ... "Volare" is still a big hit -- and not just in karaoke bars. There've been at least 40 different covers -- from artists like Frank Zappa, Paul McCartney, and David Bowie.
And whoever owns the song will have the power to decide who can record it.
Whatever happens in the lawsuit .... Volare -- the shower version -- is still okay to sing.
I Got Suspended
I'm Going to Church!
12/19/2013 1:37 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Phil Robertson turned to the Lord after getting benched from "Duck Dynasty."
The pastor at White's Ferry Road Church tells TMZ ... while everyone went crazy last night over Phil's suspension, Phil was in the pews with his prayer group, praying for a woman who had been diagnosed with cancer.
Pastor Mike Kellett tells us ... Robertson didn't even MENTION the TV show or the suspension
-- it was all about the sick woman.
Pastor Mike dodged our question -- whether Phil's a homophobe -- saying, "Phil is doing his best to follow God's word. He always treats people with love and respect."
Pastor Mike says the church is solidly behind Robertson: "Television shows come and go. His faith is forever."
Shaq's Holding My Reality Show Hostage
for $1 Million
12/19/2013 1:35 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Shaq's blocking Shaunie O'Neal's reality show out of spite ... because of his own failed reality show attempts -- and demanded a ransom of $1 million to give her the go ahead -- so Shaunie claims in new legal docs, but Shaq is calling BS.
Shaunie tried to get a judge to effectively green light her attempt to put her kids in a new reality show with her ... something Shaq is strongly against.
But in her legal docs -- obtained by TMZ -- Shaunie says it's all sour grapes, claiming Shaq tried and failed 3 times to do a reality show with his kids. But sources close to Shaq tell us ... it's simply not true, and if a network wanted a reality show ... he's way more marketable than her.
Shaunie also claims in the docs that Shaq was ok with her show ...as long as she gave him $1 million, which she refused to do. Our Shaq sources say, ridiculous ... the last thing he needs is $$$.
Shaunie grouses that she needs to do the show to pay the bills, because she gets no alimony. But we've learned Shaq pays her $100,000 A MONTH in child support for their 4 kids.
Shaunie says Shaq barely gives two craps about the kids and only sees them 8-10 days a YEAR. Shaq sources tell us Shaunie's lying ... he sees the kids "plenty" and is very involved in their school.
A hearing on Shaunie's bid to do the show will be held late next month ... which is weird, because she told the judge the show would die if she didn't get the order because filming was scheduled for the first week in January.
'Duck Dynasty' Stars
Biggest Sponsor Pledges Support
Under Armour Won't Cut Ties
12/19/2013 1:34 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The guys from "Duck Dynasty" are NOT in danger of losing their biggest sponsor, Under Armour -- 'cause while the company tells TMZ its not down with Phil Roberston's homophobic comments, its not willing to kill the business relationship ... yet.
UA -- which sponsors the Duck Commander business, founded by Phil -- just issued a statement to TMZ ... saying, "We have no plans to change our current relationship.
The company adds, "We are obviously aware of the situation. And his comments are not indicative of Under Armour's views."
UA insists the company is committed to treating all people equally and with respect ... even if Phil isn't.