Hillary Atkin

‘The Media Ruined Our Lives’

Dec 1, 2009

The plot thickens in the case of Michaele and Tareq Salahi, the now infamous White House state dinner party crashers who made their first television appearance on the "Today" show Tuesday morning.

The Salahis, a social-climbing couple who reportedly are having serious financial difficulties, told Matt Lauer they were not getting paid for their appearance—after the Associated Press reported they were asking for six-figure deals for an interview.

They abruptly cancelled an appearance on “Larry King Live,” and there’s speculation that a Bravo contract they signed restricted them to NBC—hence the Lauer interview.

Media whores, shameless fame-seekers. Whatever you want to call them, the Salahis have achieved their goal of attracting worldwide attention for their stunt, which called into serious question the Secret Service’s ability to protect the leader of the free world and other national and world leaders from harm.

Yet during the interview, they blamed the media for ruining their lives. “Our lives have been destroyed, everything we’ve worked for, Matt,” Michaele Salahi said. “For me, 44 years, just destroyed.” Her husband declared: “This has been the most devastating thing that’s ever happened to us. We’re greatly saddened by all the circumstances that have been involved in portraying my wife and I as party crashers. I can tell you we did not party crash the White House.”

The White House insists they did, leaving many questions on the table, beginning with exactly how the couple was able to obtain access to the event honoring India’s prime minister without being on the guest list. Tall blonde in a see-through sari, anyone?

Normally, a member of the White House social office would be present to oversee the first guest check point, but somehow, reversing protocol, that did not happen. So the Salahis are under investigation for lying to a federal official to get into the dinner.

Even before the “Today” spot, they claim they were invited, at least to the cocktail portion of the evening, via a connection with a Pentagon official who has denied their claim, saying she told them they should not come to the event.

In a statement released by the White House, Michele S. Jones, special assistant to the Secretary of Defense said: “I specifically stated that they did not have tickets and in fact that I did not have the authority to authorize attendance, admittance or access to any part of the evening’s activities. Even though I informed them of this, they still decided to come.”

Here’s what the Salahis have been official invited to: the House Homeland Security Committee’s hearing Thursday about the incident. So has the Secret Service. The couple says they have already turned over documentation that they were in fact, invited to the dinner.

They’re also denying reports that they recently crashed another high-profile DC event, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Awards dinner on Sept. 26 at which Obama spoke—and from which they were apparently kicked out after they sat at a table reserved for donors. The Salahis attribute that account to a gossip column.

In their quest to become cast members of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of D.C.,” cameras filmed their preparations for their big night on the town—where they photogenically glad-handed the likes of Rahm Emanuel, Joe Biden, D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty, Katie Couric, Robin Roberts and the president himself. Yikes.

Within hours, Michaele posted photos on her Facebook account, most showing her closely wrapped around the men she posed with. She initially spelled Emanuel’s first name as “Ron,” before being corrected, and referred to the US White House. There are nearly 2,000 comments, mostly from haters.

A separate Facebook fan page says this:

“Michaele Salahi is rumored to be one of the cast members featured on Bravo’s upcoming "The Real Housewives of DC."

Michaele Salahi owns Oasis Winery along with her husband, Tareq Salahi. Michaele Salahi is also the chair of America’s Polo Cup, the spring strutting ritual—and polo match—that sports her husband as its president.

Michaele Salahi is also a former model who was the face of virginia dot org’s Wine Getaways ad campaign. Michaele Salahi has been featured in "O" (Oprah), Gourmet, Conde Nast Traveller, Home & Garden, New Yorker, Vogue, Elle, Victoria Secrets and many others.

Michaele Salahi has been featured in television spots for everything from charity events and fashion shows to polo matches and wine & food gatherings.”

Shameless self-promotion is a way of life in Hollywood, and in D.C., as is crashing high-profile events, but these wannabes have taken it to a new low. Unless, of course, they somehow prove their case.

If not, it would be a crying shame if Bravo bought into the Sleazys’, oops, the Salahis’ game and furthered their ill-gotten “fame,” but it looks like the cabler won’t be able to resist—as the smart money says they’re a lock for “Real Housewives.”


  1. Well, too bad the White House social office is so incompetent and a nice way to shed off blame is to point at the inability of the secret service; why were they not by the door supervising every entrance, every minute? We do it when we greet our guests at home for dinner, no?. How about they share responsibility too? I have to say the secret service has been put in a pretty bad position, rightfully so. However, I have to imagine that with the new rules and new protocols imposed by this “avant-garde” and inexperienced White House, I bet the men of the secret service are still adjusting to the new administration and its new rules. It is a pity that the media has focused on the “party crashers” rather than really looking at the issues: how the White House is being run and how a situation like this could have caused an international crisis had we had a major negative event happening that night if these people had come with an agenda other than having a good time at the expense of the shame of the secret servie. It’s a pity that journalists chose to cover the easiest angle and narrow their minds to the fastest sound-bite. Is the whole incident combined (the crash, the White House response, the media coverage, people’s comments, etc.) a sign that our society has become too frivolous? No wonder we have a problem passing the health care bill, or educating our children properly.

  2. Is it really worth wasting the time to comment on this article, only because the couple in question appear to be nothing more than folks who want their 15 minutes of fame. Well, they got it, but not quite in the manner in which they wanted it.
    As the old adage goes, if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.
    As for reality shows, they’re just one more sign of the end of times 😉

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