Whoopi Goldberg Vs. Real Housewife Michaele Salahi

The Real Housewives of D.C. premieres Thursday, and the woman responsible for virtually all its early publicity has been working overtime to make sure no one forgets it.

ABC issued a statement Wednesday denying that The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg had hit Housewife Michaele Salahi when she and the other four housewives appeared on the show earlier in the day, calling the charge "completely unfounded and erroneous." Salahi's attorney, Lisa Bloom, told The Daily Beast that following the taping, Goldberg confronted her client backstage, angrily demanding to know if Salahi had accused her of violence, and Salahi later made a Facebook post calling Goldberg's behavior "outrageous abuse."

What happened behind the scenes is a she said-she said, but a tape of the show appears to tell a mundane story. The five women were being interviewed by Joy Behar and Sherri Shepherd, when Salahi and fellow cast member Lynda Erkiletian began arguing about an incident that occurred several days beforehand: Salahi's husband Tareq allegedly throwing wine at a Beverly Hills party. Goldberg, who to this point had not been on stage, can be seen reaching out to touch Salahi on the arm and prompting her to return to the original topic of the segment, the infamous White House party that Salahi still insists she didn't crash. Salahi was clearly surprised by Goldberg, but did not appear noticeably upset at the time.

Why Salahi chose to make an issue out of this very minor incident and not the sarcastic, skeptical questioning of Behar and Shepherd is anyone's guess, but no publicity this close to a series premiere can be bad. And if nothing else, the segment on The View illustrated who the star of The Real Housewives of D.C. is going to be, as the other four cast members were essentially ignored.