THE OTHER STUFF . . .
Claudine De Niro and Cuba Gooding Jr. have been spotted frolicking all over town, but she was coy about their relationship at a dinner for Auric Road hotel group on Monday night. When we spotted her FaceTiming with Gooding during a dinner at Jason Liebman's Soho residence, De Niro told us she was on a business call with the Oscar winner about "Steam," the movie he's directing. Multiple sources have told us that the estranged wife of Robert De Niro's son Raphael and Gooding have been "hooking up" since at least December. But while De Niro remained tight-lipped about Gooding, she did share that she's been focusing on the film business, including recently co-producing Gregg Bello and Alec Baldwin's Tribeca Film Festival project "Crown Vic." Meanwhile, Monica Lewinsky sat across the room at another table with Liebman's business partner Paul Makarechian. "She was in a great mood, talking about her women's platform and how she's working on anti-bullying. She looked incredible. She ate vegan and skipped the booze," a spy said. Eric Zinterhofer, Stavros Niarchos and Frederique van der Wal were also there. (Page Six)
A SoHo florist kicked some "bully" filmmakers in the bud -- by covering her storefront in signs blasting the Hollywood flick and rendering the area on Thompson Street near her store unusable for a movie shoot. "Movie shoots kill small business. Come in, we're open!" read a neon-pink banner Julia Testa hung in protest of the disruption she says would have been caused by Sofia Coppola's new movie, "On The Rocks," starring Bill Murray and Rashida Jones. Because of the anti-film banners on the building, Coppola moved the film location around the block to Prince Street, leaving other business owners mad that their area lost the opportunity to be included in the movie. "That behavior is borderline crazy," one merchant told The Post. The situation began last week when a Coppola scout visited businesses on the west side of Thompson Street between Prince and Spring, offering $300-$500 for stores to stay open from 3 to 8 on Monday and to hold customers for a few minutes at a time during filming. Other businesses on the street were ready to sign when Testa balked. "Our break-even point for the day is $2,500," Testa told a Coppola representative in an email she provided to the Post. "And that's extremely cheap (and honest of me to even share with you). I've looped in my attorney here." Faced with Testa's protests, Coppola moved the shoot to Prince Street, where The Post spotted Jones filming Monday evening. No businesses on Thompson were paid. Coppola, who lives in the area, is a frequent visitor to the block, locals said. "We were very happy she was doing shooting here," said an area store owner. "She's our customer too." Testa says neighbors who think she's being thorny don't understand her. "I don't think they were experiencing the same pressure and disrespect and bullying," she said. "I don't have time to be going to all their community board things and bringing them cookies around the holidays. I'm working. I'm busy." A spokesperson for "On The Rocks" said, "We're thankful for the vast majority of people that have been so welcoming to us and are doing everything we can to make sure the disruption is as minimal as possible." (US Weekly)
Gretchen Carlson resigns as Miss America chairwoman. Gretchen Carlson stepped down as board chairwoman of Miss America -- following reports of behind-the-scenes feuds over the elimination of the pageant's swimsuit competition. The former Miss America was part of the leadership group that cut the swimsuit competition, prompting some state pageants to call for her and the rest of the board to step down. Reps from nearly two dozen state pageants signed a petition last July calling for the board's resignations, while 30 former Miss Americas signed their own letter expressing their full support of Carlson. Carlson released a statement saying she was "extremely proud of the work we have collectively done." "With a promising network partnership, the time is ideal to give new leadership the opportunity to move forward with what has been accomplished," Carlson said. "Miss America will always be a part of who I am and I will enthusiastically watch as the organization continues to grow and succeed." Carlson will be replaced by Shantel Krebs, a former South Dakota secretary of state, and remain as an adviser to the board during the transition. Miss America CEO Regina Hopper said, "We are grateful for the talents, expertise and time Gretchen gave to move this organization to relevancy, diversity and inclusion for a new generation of young women. We are thrilled she will continue to move this transition forward as an adviser to the board as we work toward a successful Miss America 2020 on NBC, and the 100th anniversary of this American icon in 2021." (PageSix)