Note: This post was updated on July 8 in light of Ariana Grande’s doughnut-gate scandal, in which she was caught on a surveillance camera licking donuts in a bakery and yelling “I hate America.”
She later apologized for the comment in a statement to BuzzFeed News, though failed to mention the doughnut licking, instead calling herself “an advocate for healthy eating.”
The original post (with dates/ages updated for accuracy) is below:
Twenty-two-year-old singer Ariana Grande dominated the charts in August 2014 with her sophomore album, My Everything, which debuted at No. 1.
But a spate of bad press begs the question of whether the former Nickelodeon actress is handling her transition from child star to pop idol well.
We’ll start in 2013, when the former Broadway star’s Nickelodeon show with Jennette McCurdy, Sam & Cat, was put on hold, allegedly due to behind-the-scenes drama.
This was despite the sitcom having the network’s biggest live-action launch in three years, with over 4 million people tuning in.
Much of the drama behind the hiatus was related to salary negotiations — Grande was allegedly earning quite a lot more than her blonde counterpart.
But in June 2014, McCurdy penned a lengthy vent on TwitLonger about a friend who was a bad influence in her life, called “Letting Go of Someone.” The letter was considered to be a thinly veiled rant about her co-star, with inflammatory sentences like this:
We aren’t better friends because being friends with you takes the “better” out of me. In fact, I might possibly be the worst version of myself when I’m around you.
Where did I go? As far away from you as I can get. You won’t be hearing from me anymore because sweetheart, being a friend to you was doing so much more for you than it was doing for me. You sucked the life right out of me, and I want my life back. …
Grande didn’t respond, but did shoot off a vague tweet:
After Sam & Cat was canceled last July, Grande shared an emotional farewell letter. As Grantland pointed out, it was “very sweet on the surface, but [its] thank-yous conspicuously left out any mention of McCurdy.”
Grande eventually admitted to People that she had some creative differences with the show. “For a long time I was attached to a character that was nothing like myself. It was a little frustrating,” she said.
For her part, McCurdy was somewhat petty after the show ended, making a web series with a shrill character who happened to be a pop star named Glorianna and posting this shade-filled Instagram (later deleted).
Sam & Cat was not the first show on which the Florida native has had some co-star drama.
On her Ask.FM account, she also blamed the cancellation of her first Nickelodeon show, Victorious, on co-star Victoria Justice wanting to do a solo tour.
“If we had done a cast tour Nickelodeon would have ordered another season of Victorious while Sam & Cat filmed simultaneously but she chose otherwise,” she wrote in 2013. “I’m tired of this bs.”
In the letter, Dan O’Connor described how MTV, VH1, and Pepsi arranged for his daughters, Jen and Kelly, to meet Grande in the days ahead of MTV’s Video Music Awards after Jen won a contest by creating artwork inspired by the singer.
Much of the bad experience O’Connor blogged about could be considered the fault of MTV and Pepsi (the girls were shuffled around for hours and not fed). But when it came time to meet with Grande, he wrote that she spent about 15 seconds with the contest-winning fans:
She never bothered to even ask anyone their name. She didn’t inquire as to who the contest winners were, as opposed to their guests, or what they created to win the right to meet her.
According to O’Connor, Jen took one selfie with Grande, and her sister Kelly also took a photo of Jen giving Ariana her contest-winning drawing of her and Iggy Azalea, which the organizers had said wouldn’t be allowed. Grande allegedly demanded the sisters delete their photos.
“Delete those pictures, please” was all Ariana said.
“Can I just keep the one of my sister showing you the drawing?” asked Kel.
Ariana turned to her security and ordered, “Make sure she deleted those.”
The MTV reps’ alleged response after she walked out? “Sometimes celebrities are like that.”
But in a second blog post, O’Connor said the painting of Grande and her grandfather wasn’t presented to Grande until after she demanded other pictures be deleted. “Her excuse holds no water,” he told BuzzFeed News.
He said she demanded the pictures be deleted after she was presented with the drawing of her and Azalea, but before the artwork of her with her grandfather.
After the original blog post got hundreds of thousands of views, Joseph Carozza, vice president of media relations at Grande’s label, Republic Records, contacted O’Connor to ask him to amend the post saying that they now understand she acted that way because she was “in mourning.”
When I asked him why I should do that considering that everything noted in the blog occurred BEFORE she saw the drawing, he responded that this post had become a legitimate news story and that it was Ariana’s album release week, and the story was making her uncomfortable.
O’Connor told BuzzFeed News that Grande has still not reached out to the family. He added that Carozza refused his request to have the star contact his daughters in a brief phone call or a tweet, saying she is “too busy,” but he was followed on Twitter by Grande’s manager, Scooter Braun.
Carozza has not responded to a request for comment.
In September, another report claimed that Grande issued a photographer a long list of demands.
According to the report, the singer was “checking each frame after it was taken and asking for shots she wasn’t pleased with to be deleted. After a few minutes she left the hotel suite, complaining to her reps that she was unhappy with how her top looked in the poses.”
Reportedly, Grande’s rep eventually demanded that Pavlich delete all of his photos.
After he refused, he claims he “was later approached by a member of the singer’s security team who attempted to prevent him from closing the tailgate on his car as he stowed his equipment.”
Pavlich declined to comment to BuzzFeed News.
In an interview with an Australian radio station following the report, Grande defended herself:
“It was just a photographer or something who got mad at me because I left to change my outfit mid-photo shoot because I didn’t like my top,” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll be right back!’ and then I came back and he had left. I was like, ‘Oh, shit!’”
She added, “Then he came out and said all these ridiculous, untrue things about me. I was like, ‘That’s not real. That’s nonsense!’”
Grande isn’t alone among celebrities who issue a long list of demands or who have been accused of being brusque.
Commenters pointed out this tweet from The Cab’s lead singer, Alexander DeLeon, which has been up since 2011.
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