Celebrities vs. Journalists: This was the week that Alec Baldwin and Rihanna fought back

Trading personal insults with journos on Twitter is a fool's game

Share

Celebrity never sleeps, so it was perhaps inevitable that one of the Hollywood elite would step up and try to upstage James Gandolfini at his own funeral. There is, it seems, no occasion too sombre that an actor won’t think about pulling focus from the main attraction, even if that main attraction is a corpse. 

So it happened that while most mourners were still digesting vol-au-vents and reflecting on the good times, one, Alec Baldwin, embarked on an angry rampage in full view of the world, trampling memories of tender eulogies and tears underfoot like the Incredible Hulk with a hangover. The trigger – and with the irascible actor, there doesn’t need to be much of a trigger – was an article on Mail Online which suggested that his wife, Hilaria, had been tweeting about yoga, smoothies and romance during the funeral service on Thursday.

With a wilful disregard for irony, Baldwin instantly took to Twitter to defend her honour. It began with the sort of lame, sub-gangster cyberthreat – “Someone wrote that my wife was tweeting at a funeral. Hey. That’s not true. But I’m gonna tweet at your funeral” – that would have Tony Soprano spinning in his grave. It soon spiralled into something nastier. Minute by minute, his ire grew – “I’m gonna find you George Stark, you toxic little queen. And I’m gonna fuck… you… up” – until he finally exploded and did the unthinkable – deleted his Twitter account. By that time, he had become the story.

Baldwin has form, of course. He was notoriously caught on answerphone calling his 11-year-old daughter “a rude, thoughtless little pig”. And when the theatre critic of The New York Times deemed his recent Broadway turn in Orphans a “mutating cartoon of a performance”, he responded with a review of the reviewer on the Huffington Post.  “Ben Brantley… is not a good writer. [He is] an odd, shrivelled, bitter Dickensian clerk who has sought to assemble a compendium of essays on theatre, the gist of which often have no relationship to the events onstage themselves.” He has what they call in LA “anger issues”.

Baldwin is not the only celebrity to hit the warpath this week. Rihanna was incensed by an article (in the Daily Mail) which branded her a “poisonous pop princess” and questioned her “toxic” influence on young girls and her fashion sense that “invites rape”. Retaliating via Instagram, the pop star described the journalist Liz Jones as “amateur”, “bitter” and a “sad, sloppy menopausal mess”. The whole episode should probably be locked up, along with Sex and the City 2 and the cupcake craze, in a box labelled “Embarrassing Moments in the History of Womankind” and forgotten about.

But that is a difficult thing to do. The lines of communication have opened up, and the considered right of reply has been replaced by knee-jerk responses tapped out in anger. There is no such thing as tomorrow’s fish and chip paper any more. One bad news story can rumble on in an echo chamber of insults for days, but hurling personal slurs at a professional writer is a fool’s game. Whether Baldwin’s wife was tweeting from the pews or not is irrelevant. It must be infuriating to read negative stories about oneself and one’s loved ones, but there is a time and a place for retaliation, and in the wake of a wake is not it. Here, as in most cases, a dignified silence would have been the best response. But then no one ever stole the limelight by staying silent.

Lay off the sweet things, or you'll get toothache

There was a magically shrinking child and another magically expanding one. There were raving Oompa Loompas, a flying glass lift and rivers of molten chocolate. And there were costumes so bright and sets so toothsome they gave you spots in front of your eyes. What there wasn’t, though, was a single good song. Which is a shame because Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is supposed to be a musical.

The show, directed by Sam Mendes, opened in the West End this week to a red carpet which buckled beneath hype, a hundred A-listers and Barbara Windsor. Unfortunately, it failed to live up to it. It looked magnificent – the designers having run riot in the props department like kids in a sweetshop. Beneath the brilliant surface, though, the theatrical pickings were slim.

I hesitate to say this in a time of spending reviews, but Charlie and the Chocolate Factory might prove that it is possible to splash too much cash on a show. Roald Dahl’s tale of greedy Augustus Gloop and spoiled Veruca Salt preaches the virtues of moderation and making the best of what little you have – even if, like Charlie Bucket, it’s simply a head full of dreams. With this sickly, over-the-top spectacle, Mendes and co have totally missed the message.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Women are working in some of the lowest-paid sectors such as cleaning, catering and caring  

Women's wages have gone backwards. Labour would give women the pay they deserve

Gloria de Piero
 

Taking on Ukip requires a delicate balancing act for both main parties

Andrew Grice
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?