What Happens When Journalists Infuriate Famous People


Earlier today, an angry M.I.A. tweeted out writer Lynn Hirschberg’s phone number in response to this upcoming New York Times Magazine cover story on her that she doesn’t like. While we love Hirschberg’s deadpan response to both the initial outburst (“It’s a fairly unethical thing to do, but I don’t think it’s surprising. She’s a provocateur, and provocateurs want to be provocative.”) and a followup tweet about an “unedited version” of the interview (“I have no idea what she’s talking about”), the entire thing has us thinking about what happens when celebrity/journalist relationships hit a bump in the road. Click through, and let’s explore!

Courtney Love vs. Lynn Hirschberg

When Courtney Love sat down with then Vanity Fair writer Hirschberg for an interview in 1992, it was supposed to be her media debut as more than just Kurt Cobain’s wife. Instead, the resulting article revealed that she’d taken heroin while pregnant with Frances Bean. Whoops.

The fallout: When the issue hit newsstands that September, Bean was taken away by Children’s Services of LA. Hole released a bootleg entitled “Bring Me the Head of Lynn Hirschberg.” Cobain left Hirschberg a voicemail in which she called her a cunt. And eventually, the couple regained custody of their kid. Love later told Entertainment Weekly:

“She painted a picture of a person who has no ethics, no discipline, does heroin (during) her pregnancy. Give me a break. I mean, I went to college. I’m not insane. Lynn Hirschberg is really obsessed with me and she’s just, you know, really mainstream. She does celebrity profiles and puff pieces.”

But all was not forgiven. When she spotted Hirschberg at an Oscars after-party in 1995, Love grabbed Quentin Tarantino’s statuette for Pulp Fiction and threatened to impale her with it. Because she’s not insane.

Alec Baldwin vs. Mike Walker

First National Enquirer reporter Mike Walker wrote a column about Alec Baldwin screaming at Tina Fey on the set of 30 Rock. Then, in an interview with The Times of London, Baldwin called Walker a “whore” and a “queen.” So, Walker responded by writing this: “Here’s my headline: ‘Alec Baldwin — Raging Closet HOMOPHOBE!’ Grab your pitchforks and torches, Hollywood — the monster lurks among ye! Just for the record: I am not gay, as my wife will attest.”

Naturally Baldwin had to retaliate. He told the New York Post , “Yes, he (Walker) is a goat-footed, wheezy, old queen, and all my male lovers agree with me.” To which Walker responded, “Just for the record: I am not gay, as my wife will attest. Right honey? . . . HONEY?? Hey Alec: Stay tuned.”

Are you confused too?

Andy Rooney vs. Ali G

When Sacha Baron Cohen interviewed Andy Rooney for Da Ali G Show, the old curmudgeon became so furious that he ended their meeting several minutes in — but not before misspelling his own name (“Runey”) and repeatedly correcting Ali for using “does” instead of “do” when addressing him. Ali suggested that rather than a grammar mistake, it was just “an English/American thing.” But Rooney wasn’t having it: “No, no. That’s English. The English language is very clear. I have fifty books on the English language if you’d like to borrow one.”

Two minutes later, he kicked Ali G out for wasting his time. Or “being black.” You decide.

Mike Tyson vs. “Irritating” Sky News Reporter

Mike Tyson had reportedly turned over a new leaf. Sky News reporter Dermot Murnaghan didn’t believe that he had changed that much. Perhaps he was right to be skeptical, because when pressed on the issue, Tyson went straight to his scary violent place:

“I’m 43 years old and you’re still dwelling on something I did when I was 20… What do you want to get from this interview? I don’t know if I am (a different person now) or not. I don’t want to be the person I was but change comes in time. You’re irritating me now. I guess I did change because I’m not assailing you. You’re irritating me right now because I feel as though you’re evoking stuff from the past — that stuff is from 15 or 20 years ago.”

Alice Hoffman vs. Roberta Silman

After The Boston Globe‘s Roberta Silman posted a negative review of Alice Hoffman’s lackluster novel, The Story Sisters, the author unleashed her wrath on Twitter, publishing the critic’s phone number and calling her names like “idiot” and “moron.” Within 24 hours, Hoffman sort of apologized:

“I feel this whole situation has been completely blown out of proportion. Of course I was dismayed by Roberta Silman’s review which gave away the plot of the novel, and in the heat of the moment I responded strongly and I wish I hadn’t. I’m sorry if I offended anyone. Reviewers are entitled to their opinions and that’s the name of the game in publishing. I hope my readers understand that I didn’t mean to hurt anyone and I’m truly sorry if I did.”

And then she deactivated her Twitter account.

Michael Cera vs. Chuckle-Crazed Teen.com Reporter

OK, so maybe this interaction isn’t as contentious as the rest, but it is really funny/sad. Kim Kaufman, a reporter for Teen.com, was working the red carpet at the premiere of Youth in Revolt. Instead of doing reporterly things like asking questions, she used it as an opportunity to slip the film’s star, Michael Cera, her digits. “He’s so charming,” Kaufman told the New York Post. “I’d like to have someone make me laugh.” From this photo, it’s kind of hard to tell how Cera feels about it. Consternated?