War of Words

06.25.13

Rihanna vs. The Daily Mail And Other Singer-Journalist Feuds

Rihanna called out the Daily Mail’s Liz Jones. From Kanye West to M.I.A., singer-journalist feuds.

Rihanna vs. the Daily Mail’s Liz Jones

On Monday afternoon, the U.K. tabloid the Daily Mail ran an outrageous hatchet job on the pop singer Rihanna with the attention-grabbing headline, “Pop's poisonous princess: Glorying in drugs, guns and sleaze, Rihanna's toxic role model for her army of young fans.” The piece was written by Liz Jones, who took a number of potshots at Rihanna over a picture the singer posted to Twitter depicting, Jones writes, “two giant, phallic spliffs in her red-lipsticked mouth.” The writer also called out Rihanna on promoting “drug-taking, drinking and the sort of fashion sense on stage that surely invites rape at worst, disrespect at least,” and that “the message she’s sending to her young fans, through her explicit lyrics, vile dance moves and pictures on Twitter, is utterly toxic. This poisonous pop princess should come with a government health warning.”

The piece is, in a word, revolting, and Rihanna took to Instagram on Tuesday morning to fire back at Jones, posting an unflattering picture of the writer with the caption:

“LOL!!!! My money got a bad habit of pissing people off!! If you sincerely wanna help little girls more than their own parents do, here's a toxic tip: don't be amateur with your articles, you sound bitter! What's all this about hair and nails and costumes and tattoos?? ....That shit ain't clever!!! That shit ain't journalism! That's a sad sloppy menopausal mess!!! Nobody over here acts like they're perfect! I don't pretend that I'm like you, i just live... My life!! And I don't know why y'all still act so surprised by any of it!! 'Role Model' is not a position or title that I have ever campaigned for, so chill wit dat! I got my own fucked up shit to work on, I'll never portray that as perfect, but for right now it's ME!! Call it what ya want!! Toxic was cute, Poisonous Pop Princess had a nice ring to it, just a lil wordy! And P.S. my first American Vogue cover was in 2011...APRIL!!! #ElizabethAnnJones”

M.I.A. vs. The New York Times’ Lynn Hirschberg

mia-controversies-tease
Jeff Kravitz, FilmMagic / Getty Images

Back in 2010, The New York Times’ Lynn Hirschberg wrote a lengthy, highly unflattering profile of the Sri Lankan rapper M.I.A. which basically branded the performer as a hypocrite, talking about revolution while munching on “a truffle-flavored French fry” at the posh Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. In response to the piece, M.I.A. tweeted Hirschberg’s cell phone number and posted recordings of the actual interview to her blog that revealed it was not only Hirschberg who ordered the truffle fries, but also that the journalist misquoted the singer in the piece, patching quotes together from different parts of the interview. The New York Times later issued a lengthy correction to the story, and Hirschberg said that she found the tweet “infuriating and not surprising.”

Kanye West vs. MTV’s Sway

130619-kanye-craziest-lyrics-vid-tease
Kanye West performs in Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Nousha Salimi/AP)

This is one of the funnier “feuds” between a rapper and a journalist. Earlier this year, after MTV’s Sway and his co-hosts ranked Kanye West at No. 7 on their annual list of the “Hottest MC’s,” West phoned in to the New York radio station Hot 97 to vent his frustrations [Ed Note: With good reason].

“I feel like in order for them to put me at No. 7, they had to bring up things they didn’t like,” said West. “Ain’t nobody bringin’ up that ‘Diamonds Remix’ verse. There wasn’t no verse in a year that was fuckin’ with that verse. It’s definitely not based on a body of work.” He later took aim at Sway, saying, “I gave Sway his first TV, man! He came over to my crib in Newark, New Jersey, and I was living Newark, doing beats for Jay and Beans and all them, and I was getting’ a new TV, and I gave Sway his first TV. And really, I didn’t even wanna like call to talk about this No. 7 list, I just wanted to tell everybody that I gave Sway his first TV… and he need to remember that.” Then, West hung up, leaving the Hot 97 folks both amused and baffled. 

Courtney Love vs. Vanity Fair’s Lynn Hirschberg

130625-courtney-love-tease
Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP

The M.I.A. feud wasn’t the first time journalist Lynn Hirschberg has gotten into it with a famous singer. Back in 1992, Hirschberg wrote a scathing profile of Love in Vanity Fair with the headline, “Strange Love.” The piece described Love’s rocky relationship with husband-Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, and also claimed that Love took heroin while she was pregnant with the couple’s daughter, Frances Bean, which led to the child being temporarily removed from their home. Love subsequently penned a song called “Bring Me the Head of Lynn Hirschberg,” and went on an epic tirade against the writer in an interview with The Fix, claiming the story helped drive her late husband to suicide. “She is famous for doing hatchet pieces on other women and blow-jobs on famous Jewish men,” said Love. “She’s constantly falling in love with celebrities like Rick Rubin, Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Weinstein, and Jerry Seinfeld. In fact, she was fired from Vanity Fair because she sent Jerry Seinfeld an article she had written about him and allowed him to edit it before it appeared in the magazine. She’s a monster—that’s all I can say. I don’t have hate in my heart for anybody, but she’s more responsible for my husband’s death than anyone.”

Nicki Minaj vs. Access Hollywood’s Laura Saltman & Billy Bush

130306-nicki-minaj-setoodeh-tease
Singer Nicki Minaj speaks during a live Q&A during the season premiere screening of Fox's 'American Idol' at Royce Hall, UCLA on January 9, 2013 in Westwood, California. (Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty)

Earlier this year, Access Hollywood hosts Billy Bush and Laura Saltman taped a special on American Idol, but apparently weren’t very impressed by the attitude of judge Nicki Minaj. In a blog post, Saltman said she was turned off by Minaj’s “unprofessionalism,” writing, “In my 20 years in entertainment news, I have interviewed close to 5,000 celebrities — people who have bigger bragging rights than Nicki. Men and women who have Oscars, Grammys and Emmys. Yet, by far, she is the most ungracious of anyone I have met. Each week, she comes backstage for interviews and we are told “two questions only” while her people hover over you and even, at times, have their hand on your arm as you end your interview to make you stop. Waiver from the two-question rule and Nicki herself will walk away. She makes zero eye contact and has no connection to whomever is interviewing her. If she likes your question, she may give you a proper answer. If she doesn’t, she may give you a dirty look and walk off.”

Minaj took to Twitter and unleashed a series of tweets targeting both Saltman and Bush. “Honestly, if your day was really RUINED because i walked away from a question, rather than discuss something negative, u need a LIFE. Lmao,” she tweeted. She also tweeted, “like that man Billy Bush...like r u the fake ryan seacrest? like my g, who the fuk r u? lmao. i gotta laugh at this shit. i swear to God,” and then said, “I wldve respected her had she pulled me aside like a BOSS. But going to your "friends" to have them lash out against me on TV? grow up hoe.”