Many talk show hosts — whether they're on TV or radio — are known for being straightforward or blunt in their criticisms. However, when they claim they're "telling it like it is," they're often just coming across as unnecessarily cruel.
Others ask invasive or rude questions under the guise of "getting to the truth" or finding out "what the audience wants to know."
Here are 13 times celebs called out talk show hosts for their toxic criticisms and questions:
Brooke Shields was widely criticized over the line "You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing," which was widely perceived as a sexual innuendo. However, she later told Vogue that she "didn’t think it was sexual in nature" and that "if they had intended on the double entendre, they didn’t explain it to [her]."
BROOKE'S RESPONSE: 40 years later, she told Dax Shepard's Armchair Expert podcast, "It's practically criminal. It's not journalism."
2. THE INTERVIEW: In 2000, Barbara Walters antagonistically questioned Ricky Martin about rumors he was gay and tried to goad him into addressing his sexuality on air.
At the time, he replied that he felt one's sexuality was something they should "deal with in their own way," and he "didn't feel like" confronting the rumors.
RICKY'S RESPONSE: 21 years later, he told People, "When she dropped the question, I felt violated because I was just not ready to come out. I was very afraid. There’s a little PTSD with that."
He continued, "You can't force someone to come out. But if you have an egg and you open it from the outside, only death comes out. But if the egg opens up from the inside, life comes out."
BARBARA'S APOLOGY: She actually admitted she was in the wrong 11 years earlier. In 2010, she told the Toronto Star, "In 2000, I pushed Ricky Martin very hard to admit if he was gay or not, and the way he refused to do it made everyone decide that he was. A lot of people say that destroyed his career, and when I think back on it now, I feel it was an inappropriate question."
KATHARINE'S RESPONSE: She replied, "I have one...I'll wear it to your funeral."
JOHNNY'S RESPONSE: On the show, he replied, "I've never really addressed those rumors because I always figured, why defend yourself against something that’s not offensive?"
5. THE INTERVIEW: When Carmen Carrera and Laverne Cox appeared on Katie in 2014, Katie Couric asked both women incredibly invasive questions about their transitions.
CARMEN'S RESPONSE: Cutting Katie off, Carmen shushed her and said, "I don't want to talk about it because it's really personal...I'd rather talk about my modeling stuff...and showing people that after the transition, there's still life to live."
She continued, "I still have my career goals. I still have my family goals...I want to focus on that rather than what's down here because that's been spoken about so many times, you know, in like, other interviews with other trans people. They always focus on either the transition or the genitalia, and I feel like...there's more to trans people than that."
LAVERNE'S RESPONSE: Deciding to use the moment to teach Katie about the harsh realities many trans people face, she said, "I do feel there is a preoccupation with that. The preoccupation with transition and surgery objectifies trans people. And then we don't get to really deal with the real lived experiences. The reality of trans people's lives is that so often we are targets of violence."
She continued, "We experience discrimination disproportionately to the rest of the community. Our unemployment rate is twice the national average; if you are a trans person of color, that rate is four times the national average. The homicide rate is highest among trans women. If we focus on transition, we don't actually get to talk about those things."
KATIE'S APOLOGY: Five months later, she invited Laverne back to the show, saying, "Last time you were here, I got a lot of flack because I asked about the physical process [of transition]...I want to use this as a teachable moment for myself."
Laverne replied, "It's only a mistake if you make it twice."
6. THE CRITICISM: In 2015, several Fox News anchors criticized Kendrick Lamar's BET Awards performance, in which he rapped about police brutality while standing on top of a police car. Geraldo Rivera called it "unhelpful" and claimed that "hip-hop has done more damage to young African Americans than racism in recent years."
KENDRICK'S RESPONSE: At the time, he told TMZ, "How can you turn a song about hope and turn it into hatred?"
He also called Geraldo out by name in the song.
HASAN'S RESPONSE: After teaching Ellen how to correctly pronounce his name, he said, "If you can pronounce Ansel Elgort, you can pronounce Hasan Minhaj."
9. THE CRITICISM: When discussing Keke Palmer's sexual intimidation case against Trey Songz, Wendy Williams tried to place the blame on Keke.
KEKE'S RESPONSE: Confronting Wendy on her own show, Keke said, "I would have loved to turn on your show and saw you be a little bit more compassionate and less accusatory and ridiculing."
She continued, "We’re telling girls that it’s okay for them to be in weird and awkward and potentially sexually harassing environments and they should endure it and not say nothing about it."
10. THE INTERVIEW: In 2001, Howard Stern bet Freddie Prinze Jr. a million dollars that his marriage to Sarah Michelle Gellar wouldn't last. The host said, "In about 10 years, you’re gonna hunt me down and go, 'Howard, I owe you money.'"
FREDDIE'S RESPONSE: In 2016, he told AOL Build, "I did The Howard Stern Show when I was a young buck, and he was cracking jokes that, you know, me and Sarah were just sleeping together and we’d break up in a few years. He bet me a million dollars that we would break up in under five years...[looking directly into the camera] You have not paid that bet, young man."
SARAH'S RESPONSE: In 2022, Sarah — who's still happily married to Freddie! — shared screenshots of the interview to her Instagram story. Tagging Howard, she wrote, "What do you think?!? I think you owe us."
Sharing Sarah's post to his own story, Freddie added, "She will not forget."
11. THE CRITICISM: In early 2020, Piers Morgan retweeted an article that accused Jameela Jamil of having Munchausen syndrome (a psychological disorder where someone pretends to be sick for attention) after she said her nut allergies cleared up. He said, "IT'S A MIRACLE! So happy for you [Jameela] — hope your other 1,345 virtue-signalling victimhood-craving ailments make similarly miraculous recoveries."
JAMEELA'S RESPONSE: Initially, she replied, "There is no cure for you being a pointless, boring, misogynist p**** sadly." However, a week later, she blocked him on Twitter because "he’s using his platform ONLY to perpetuate the hateful emotional violence that leads to the nervous breakdown of young, vulnerable people. In and out of the spotlight."
She continued, "I expose his name to a new young audience when I tweet him, which endangers them."
ARIANA'S RESPONSE: Swooping in to defend her friends and her mother, Ariana tweeted, "I use my talent AND my sexuality all the time because I choose to. Women can be sexual AND talented. Naked and dignified. It’s OUR choice. & We will keep fighting til people understand. I say this [with] all due respect but thank u, next."
She continued, "I look forward to the day you realize there are other ways to go about making yourself relevant than to criticize young, beautiful, successful women for everything they do. I think that’ll be a beautiful thing for you and your career or what’s left of it."
However, a year later, her fans were confused when Piers tweeted to thank Ariana "for a great night" and she thanked him for "some laughs and some [very] productive conversation." She explained that, after running into him in a restaurant, she decided to sit with him so they could have a discussion offline.
She said, "I think some progress was made! Turns out face to face discussions are a bit kinder and gentler, even if you do indeed disagree."