Bette Midler’s Got Beef With Lady Gaga’s Wheelchair Mermaid

Becky Bain | July 18, 2011 10:28 am

Yet another chapter in 2011’s Mermaid Wars: It appears we weren’t the only ones who thought Lady Gaga’s wheelchair-riding mermaid Yuyi (a persona she sported during her performance at Sydney’s Town Hall) was strikingly similar to Bette Midler’s own handicapped mer-person that’s been a part of her shtick since the 80s.” Bette Midler also noticed, and, well, she wasn’t thrilled!

Though our Song of the Summer champion‘s performance may have simply been an homage to Midler’s act, the iconic singer and comedian didn’t see it that way.

“I’m not sure @ladygaga knows that I’ve performed my mermaid in a wheelchair for millions of people — and many of them are still alive…..” Midler tweeted on Friday. “Dear @ladygaga if you think a mermaid in a wheelchair seems familiar-it’s because it is!You can see it on youtube 24/7-with ME performing it.”

She continued the next day: “Dear @ladygaga Ive been doing singing mermaid in a wheelchair since 1980-You can keep the meat dress and the firecracker tits-mermaid’s mine.”

And yesterday, Midler must have been feeling a bit more relaxed about the situation: “let’s drink this over at the Emmys in September. Fabulous mermaids can coexist!”

Gaga hasn’t responded, though she does say this about her next video: “Next video in just days. So passionate about the concept. Can’t sleep. Visions of a surreal love. #YuyiIsReal. If you want her to be.”

The eccentric piano-playing pop star‘s disabled sea creature look also drew ire from several high-profile disability activists who blasted her for using wheelchairs in her act, which is evidently offensive to people who are forced to use wheelchairs.

Jesse Billauer, a quadrapalegic and founder and ambassador for advocacy group Life Rolls On, “I invite [Lady Gaga] to learn more about the 5.6 million Americans who live with paralysis. They, like me, unfortunately, don’t use a wheelchair for shock value.”

So many feuds, so little time.