I think there's some truth in it. Briatore has a history of favouring drivers (for want of a better expression) in his team, and isn't above publicly needling the one he doesn't like. It was well documented at Benetton, and he gave Button a hard time in the early Renault years.
Likewise I suspect is less to do with Ronspeak and more to do with the paternal streak Ron periodically displays. It no doubt embarrased Heikki a little, hence the rebuff.