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from Page 6 last week:


STAR Jones Reynolds is worried that the public won't be able to tell the difference between her and drag queen Flotilla DeBarge.

After PAGE SIX revealed that PETA had hired DeBarge to parody the fur-loving Reynolds in a new ad campaign, the corpulent co-host of "The View" sicced her lawyers on the animal-rights organization.

In a humorless letter to PETA, Jones' lawyers wrote: "While the First Amendment . . . protects legitimate parody, [it] does not sanction the misappropriation of a person's identity for purposes of trade or advertising . . . Thus, PETA does not have the right to use an impersonator . . . As you prepare your advertisements, we urge you to keep this distinction in mind."

But the lawyers are insulting Star, because their argument only makes sense if the public could actually mistake DeBarge for her. They seem to be saying their client resembles an overweight, 6-foot-tall drag queen.

PETA, uncowed, had its own lawyers fire back. "The legal positions in your letter are without merit and it appears to be a thinly veiled attempt to coerce PETA into silence about [Jones'] support for the cruel fur industry," PETA's letter notes.

"As you acknowledge, PETA possesses a right and indeed a duty in furtherance of its charitable animal protection mission, to speak out against your client's practice of wearing animal fur. As a public figure, she is subject to public criticism and parody by Ms. DeBarge and PETA for this conduct, and in no way does such speech constitute false advertising, false designation of origin, or misappropriation of identity.

"With all due respect, we cannot believe that Ms. Jones Reynolds would remain unmoved by the video footage we have in our possession of animals suffering greatly when killed for their fur. Therefore, we fervently hope that you will ask your client to meet with us and allow us to make our case to her on behalf of the animals and to present her with a beautiful faux fur."

As of last night, Jones Reynolds had not taken PETA up on its offer, and her rep said: "Ms. Reynolds and her attorney are continuing to monitor the situation."

PETA is still going ahead with the DeBarge ad campaign, which shoots today at an undisclosed location.


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