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PR Lessons You Can Learn From These Celebrity Twitter Feuds

Celebrity Twitter feuds are like train wrecks. We want to turn away but we just can’t. They are messy, often juvenile and petty, but always entertaining. If you look closer, there are lessons to be learned – and here are some good ones from a few of the most prevalent celebrity Twitter feuds. Remember kids, nothing on the internet is ever truly deleted.

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B.o.B vs. Neil deGrasse Tyson (2016)

Andrew Toth, Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Rapper B.o.B. decided to hit the Twitterverse with his revelation that the Earth is flat. Real life, famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tried to set him straight with scientific fact and reason, but the wayward rapper was having none of it.

Takeaway: If critical thinking isn’t your strong suit, stick to what you’re good at and stay away from the deep topics (and the actual experts).

Taylor Swift vs. Nicki Minaj (2015)

(ABC News)

Minaj’s music video, “Anaconda,” wasn’t nominated for the 2015 VMA Video of the Year so she posted a cryptic tweet in protest. Swift, who was nominated, took the tweet personally and railed back. Minaj backtracked but not before Katy Perry came out of nowhere to add her two cents.

Takeaway: Not every post is all about you; but even if it is, responding opens you up to becoming a public commentary.

Kanye West vs. Wiz Khalifa (2016)

Us Magazine

Khalifa made fun of West’s’ album name, “Waves,” but it was a tweet that included the obscure initials “kk” that sent West over the edge. West thought it was a reference to his wife Kim Kardashian, Khalifa said it wasn’t, West didn’t believe him – and so went the spat. If nothing, West is committed to his cause.

Takeaway: If you don’t have anything better to do than take pot shots at other artists, you need a hobby.

Calvin Harris vs. Zayn Malik (2015)

(Ian Gavan / Getty Images; Dave J Hogan / Getty Images)

Malik posted a tweet that seemed to imply that Taylor Swift’s decision to remove her music from Spotify was a greedy move. Harris defended his woman and it all went downhill from there, dissolving into a name-calling mess.

Takeaway: If the strength of your argument lies in the number of offensive names you can call your adversary, you are unarmed.

J.K. Rowling vs. Natalie McGarry – Parliament Member (2016)


Harry Potter author, Rowling, took on Parliament Member McGarry after Rowling shared a few good words about Brian Spanner. It seems Spanner’s account has a shady history – that of bullying McGarry. So when McGarry saw Rowling’s positive tweet she launched her own attack on Rowling – who offered an explanation, but ultimately insinuated she was considering legal action against McGarry.

Takeaway: When you try to strong-arm someone into taking your side against someone you claim has bullied you – it kinda makes you a bully too.

Lady Gaga vs. Kelly Osbourne (2013)

Pascal Le Segretain / Michael Kovac, Getty Images

This Twitter war began because Lady Gaga bought Osbourne a birthday cake and gave it to her mom, Sharon, when she appeared on “The X Factor UK.” Kelly was miffed because the cake wasn’t sent directly to her, but instead given to her mom who was in another country. Gaga responded with elegance and class, not stooping to the nastiness – points to Mother Monster for taking the high road.

Takeaway: Taking the high road takes the fuel right out of an argument – and has the added bonus of making you look like a class act.

Donald Trump vs. Megyn Kelly (2016)

Aaron Joseczyk / Reuters; Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Trump’s frustration with the media is no secret and neither is his months long feud with Kelly, stemming from the Republican primary debate she moderated in August 2015. When he learned she was moderating another GOP debate, he refused to attend, calling her out as a “lightweight reporter.” To which Kelly replied – actually, she didn’t.

Takeaway: Sometimes the best response is no response.

Kanye West vs. Jimmy Kimmel (2013)

The Hollywood Gossip

West got his feathers ruffled – again. It seems Kimmel’s spoof of the rapper’s September 2013 interview with BBCRadio rubbed West the wrong way. He then unleashed a barrage of tweets – in all caps no less – berating Kimmel on a variety of levels. Kimmel’s hilarious response simply noted that West was “very, very angry” with him.

Takeaway: Being overly sensitive makes you look like a whiny, spoiled child.

Iggy Azalea vs. Talib Kweli (2016)

Brendan Thorne/Jonathan Leibson, Getty Images

Macklemore’s “White Privilege II” called out Azalea, who took to Twitter to deliver a snide remark – to which Kweli jumped in to set her straight. Azalea responded that she wasn’t actually bothered by the song, but Kweli wasn’t buying it.

Takeaway: If you think you’ve been publicly dissed there is really no good comeback without making yourself look desperate and thin skinned.

Sylvester Stallone vs. Bruce Willis (2013)

(Michael Germana/Everett Collection)

So it seems Rocky has a beef with John McClane – and he let him have it in an August 2013 tweet about his movie “The Expendables 3” expressing his excitement that Willis was out and Harrison Ford was in. He followed that up with some barbs seemingly directed at Willis. Later, Stallone admitted that his social media activity always got him into trouble and he should probably stop, but of course he didn’t.

Takeaway: If you are aware that you don’t handle your social media accounts well, hire someone to do it for you – or at least help you prevent social media disasters.

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