While most people were relaxing in a post-turkey coma haze after Thanksgiving weekend, controversial R&B singer Chris Brown and a Texas-based comedian got into a Twitter spat that turned vulgar, violent, and scatological.
Jenny Johnson, who writes regularly for Grantland and has published stories in GQ, is a self-described “writer, wife, asshole and owner of 2 dogs” responded to one of Brown’s innocuous tweets with a scathing riposte. On Sunday he tweeted: “I look old as fuck! I’m only 23 …”
Johnson replied: “I know! Being a worthless piece of shit can really age a person.” (Brown was arrested in 2009 for beating up his then-girlfriend Rihanna. The two have since been rumored to be back together.)
Cue meltdown: Brown responded with a series of misogynistic tweets, each one more lurid and disgusting than the last. A sampling: “take them teeth out when u Sucking my dick HOE.” Then: “I should fart while ur giving me top.” “mom says hello… She told me not to shart in ur mouth, wanted me to shit right on the retina.” “Diaries of a thirsty bitch…Ur life sucks so much ass…Don’t run for support now… Lol. Ur a comedic writer!!! If u can take a dick, u can take a joke.”
He ended his tirade: “Just ask Rihanna if she mad??????"
Their exchange finished with Brown deleting his Twitter account and his followers—known as Team Breezy—sending Johnson death threats.
On Sunday, she completed her communiqué with the singer, writing: “Okay. I’m done. All I got from that exchange with Chris Brown is that he wants to shit and fart on me… I have zero respect for a person who seems unapologetic for the terrible crime he committed and shows no signs of changing.”
(We attempted to contact Johnson, but no emails were returned).
Johnson is a comic, big enough to write a story in GQ about how to be a star on Twitter (she has more than 300,000 followers and a verified account): “How to Whore Out on Twitter Without Really Trying.” (Tip: “Don’t be afraid to show some skin.”)
Her written oeuvre ranges from satirical takes on pop culture and tongue-in-cheek musings on being a stepmother.
Her tag line at the end of her GQ articles reads: “Jenny often writes terrible things on the internet because she is clearly not a stable individual and anything she writes should be 100% ignored. Jenny once described the movie Titanic as “too shippy.”
Johnson formerly worked in television news but after she became a Twitter phenomenon, she was in talks to write a book and was working on a TV pilot loosely based on her life.
This isn’t the first time that Johnson’s taken on Brown. In fact, she seems to be a little obsessed. According to a search on Songbird.org, since July 5, 2011, Johnson has written 97 tweets to or about Brown—at one point, the singer blocked her.
Rihanna herself noticed the excessive attention, tweeting and deleting a screen grab on Instagram of dozens of tweets from Johnson to Brown.
Wrote Rihanna: “How does one find the time? We gotta do better than this!!
And Johnson hasn’t just kept her dislike for Brown to Twitter. She also has written at length about her fixation with Brown on Grantland.com, in a piece titled “An Open Letter to Kim Kardashian and Chris Brown.”
She wrote: “This fucking guy. I remember a time when Chris Brown was this fresh-faced young man, dating pop star Rihanna, dancing with Mike Myers during the opening of the MTV awards and we all enjoyed him. Then BOOM! Word gets out he was arrested for domestic violence. Was it a misunderstanding? Could this be? Oh … it be. Chris Brown beat the shit out of Rihanna, resulting in multiple cuts and bruises, a busted lip, and facial swelling. Who is this guy? He is clearly not the boy next door, he’s not a wholesome young man, he’s actually a violent criminal. As time passes by, we see the real Chris Brown—a guy full of rage and prone to violent outbursts.”
She ended the section on Brown, writing, “I won’t take away from the fact that he is a talented performer, but the only place he should be performing is in a jail cell.”
Though Johnson seemed to find the death threats yesterday alarming, she’s no stranger to getting attacked by Brown’s fans. One of her tweets even landed her in a dubious search result. A search for “racist asshole,” has her listed next to Rick Santorum, Donald Trump, and Sarah Palin. She tweeted: “Chris Brown beats a woman up, calls people ‘faggots’ and wins Grammys. I write jokes about him and I’m racist? Wow.”
But are Johnson’s tweets about Brown comedy or something else? Some weren’t so sure. Johnson received a fair amount of virtual thunderous applause for getting Brown to quit Twitter (for now). The Guardian wrote “Well done, Jenny Johnson, for standing up to Chris Brown.”
And her comedy brethren were applauding her takedown. Modern Family writer and executive producer Danny Zuker poked fun of the feud with a series of tweets. He wrote: “Hey if you want to see a woman beat @ChrisBrown for a change, follow @JennyJohnsonhi5 right now!”
And he wrote: “Having twitter beef with @YoYoMa and receiving a lot of crude @ replies from #TeamCello.”
But Johnson also was being taken to task for being a Twitter troll. Blogger Luvvie Ajayi wrote on her blog Awesomely Luvvie: “Jenny Johnson poked a drunk, sleeping bear and wondered how she ended up in its’ mouth. In fact, she’s been poking this bear nonstop for 2 years via Twitter. And he ignored her. Yesterday was the day he decided to respond and he did it TERRIBLY.”
Luvvie wondered, besides the obvious, why was Johnson so obsessed with Brown?
“To ME, it’s not as much of her defending Rihanna as much as her relishing the demonizing of Chris Brown. She’s doing this not because she’s some evangelist for battered women. It’s because she’s being a bully and in the worst way. Constantly bringing up someone’s painful event is cruel. And she’s a huge jerk for it.”
It’s not entirely clear. When Johnson was asked about Brown by Paper magazine in May of this year, she didn’t give much insight. “I’m not a fan of Chris Brown’s for obvious reasons. Hello, he beat up a girl. And he was so unapologetic about it and then continued to do things that were inappropriate—like throwing chairs or saying homophobic things to nightclub bouncers. He keeps telling people to ‘get over it.’ How do you get over it? Seriously?”
Or maybe, she just wanted him to acknowledge her and what she was saying. She told Paper: “He replied to a tweet once. I was proud that after six months of harassing the guy, all my hard work paid off.”
At least for now, it seems like it did.