After Ricky Martin, Why Is Barbara Walters Still Asking Famous People If They’re Gay?

Didn’t Barbara Walters learn her lesson about asking celebrities about rumors they’re gay? Walters this year admitted that one of her biggest regrets was her 2000 interview with Ricky Martin, where, she acknowleged, she “pushed [him] very hard to admit if he was gay or not, and the way he refused to do it made everyone decide that he was. A lot of people say that destroyed his career, and when I think back on it now I feel it was an inappropriate question.” And yet she just did the same thing to Oprah. Except this time it wasn’t inappropriate, she insists.

Bill O’Reilly last night asked Walters whether that line of questioning is reasonable, and Walters responds, Yes. Okay lady, explain.

Walters only asks about people’s sexual orientation if she knows they aren’t trying to keep it a secret. And, uh, how does she know if they are trying to keep it a secret? Uh, by asking?

“If you were trying to keep it a secret, Bill, I wouldn’t ask you,” says Walters. HAHA. Loves it.

But is O’Reilly actually the reasonable person here, wishing celebrity interviewers didn’t include questions about sexual orientation during these Q&As, no matter how “fascinating” the subjects? I doubt one little question about Oprah’s rumored gayness — rumors that have been trailing her for years — is going to ruin her career like it supposed did Ricky’s, and Oprah herself has regularly addressed (and laughed off) the lesbian gossip. But how does Walters know any of this is not, in fact, an attempt to stay closeted? Does she get to decide? Apparently so.