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

Volunteer your expertise as Trustee for The Society of Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...

Email Designer

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Psychology Teacher

£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...

Food Technology Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: The rules were simple: before the results are announced, don’t mention the S-word

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Howard Jacobson has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for the second time  

In praise of Howard Jacobson

Simon Kelner
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week