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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Has Nicollette Sheridan gone from 'Desperate Housewives' to just desperate?

April 7, 2010 |  2:44 pm

I'm not a lawyer. And I don't play one on TV. But I sure would've loved to have been in the room with Nicollette Sheridan and her legal team when they decided to play the gay card as part of the former "Desperate Housewives" actress' bombshell lawsuit against "Housewives" creator Marc Cherry. If it wasn't already bad enough that Sheridan was claiming that she was wrongfully fired from the show in the wake of a physical assault by Cherry, she has also claimed that she got the ax from the hit show because of her sexual orientation.

Sheridan The key, jaw-dropping contention of the lawsuit contends that Cherry's "treatment of Sheridan, including his physical assault and battery of her, occurred because he is a homosexual man and she is a heterosexual woman."

In a word: Wow! I mean, it's sort of like an "American Idol" contestant who got the ax suing Simon Cowell, charging with him with making witheringly sarcastic remarks because ... he is British.

I guess it's possible to imagine that Sheridan might get away with playing the gay card somewhere deep in the Bible Belt, but not in Hollywood, where being gay is almost as universally accepted as being a tree-hugging environmentalist. The charge implies that a gay guy like Cherry would have some sort of built-in bias against a straight actress, as if Cherry would really have been more comfortable having cast Ellen DeGeneres or Jodie Foster as his leads in "Housewives." Or even worse, that it was Cherry's disdain for heterosexual women that somehow led him to assault Sheridan.

These are charges that you would think would be awfully difficult to prove, much less support with testimony from anyone that might have been on the "Housewives" set when they occurred. According to the Hollywood Reporter's Esq. blog, which has done the best reporting so far on this story, sources close to Cherry say the alleged assault was "actually Cherry prepping Sheridan for a scene involving her getting slapped in the face." That would account for why ABC has said that it investigated Sheridan's claim a year ago and found nothing.

I don't know where the story will go from here, unless Sheridan plays the Oprah card and goes on nationwide TV, using all of her much-vaunted dramatic talent to make the case that Cherry is a man who done her wrong. But Sheridan is gonna need a whole lot more than simple dramatic finger-pointing to make people believe that she got fired from a TV show just because she was straight.

Photo of Nicollette Sheridan. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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