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Jenny getting mocked: How the internet turned on J-Lo

Singer and actor, who just cancelled her North America tour, has been the subject of countless viral videos since the release of her Amazon Prime documentary

Tom Murray
Monday 03 June 2024 09:50 BST
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Jennifer Lopez seen in first trailer for her sci-fi movie Atlas

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Jennifer Lopez is having a moment.

The “On The Floor” singer, 54, launched her new album, This is Me... Now, with a self-financed, $20m multimedia campaign that has been impossible to escape.

There was the experimental film, This is Me… Now: A Love Story, about the rekindling of her romance with Ben Affleck. And then there was her Amazon Prime documentary, The Greatest Love Story Never Told, about the making of the record and the film.

After rebranding her North America tour as a Greatest Hits show following “weak” ticket sales, she has now cancelled the entire thing to spend time with her children, friends and family.

In a statement to fans on the OnTheJLo site, Lopez, 54, said: “I am completely heartsick and devastated about letting you down. Please know that I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t feel that it was absolutely necessary.”

She added: “I promise I will make it up to you and we will all be together again. I love you all so much. Until next time…”

Live Nation said in a statement that the tour’s cancelation was due to Lopez “taking time off to be with her children, family and close friends.”

All this hasn’t quite generated the kind of headlines that Lopez would have been hoping for.

Her album received middling reviews, her film was widely panned and her documentary has been the subject of countless viral takedowns on social media.

In a similar vein to the “Hathahate” phenomenon of the early 2010s (when Anne Hathaway was the subject of intense online criticism), Lopez appears to have become the internet’s latest punchbag.

Why has the internet turned on J-Lo?

Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez (Getty Images)

Lopez is no stranger to online mockery. In 2021, she was accused of being “tone deaf” for attempting to spark a viral challenge about the 20th anniversary of her single “Love Don’t Cost a Thing”.

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Recreating a memorable moment from the track’s video on Twitter, Lopez tossed her expensive jewellery, sunglasses and clothes onto a beach.

“The #LoveDontCostAThingChallenge STARTS NOW!!!!,” Lopez captioned the video. “Can’t wait to see your renditions.”

Needless to say, the challenge did not go down well with followers who were struggling to make ends meet during the global pandemic. As one fan aptly put it: “Can’t nobody afford to be throwing their stuff on the beach.”

The backlash was not dissimilar to the criticism she has faced since the launch of her latest album in February.

The influx of biographical content has led people to accuse the star of “creative narcissism”. As entertainment journalist Hunter Harris wrote in her popular newsletter, Hung Up: “The [documentary] is 90 minutes of J.Lo speaking candidly and emotionally about the gargantuan effort it takes to, at every single moment, choose to be J.Lo.”

In one of the documentary’s most reshared moments, Lopez tousles her hair in the mirror while reminiscing about her upbringing in the Bronx.

“I like taking my hair out like this,” she says. “It reminds me, like, when I was 16 in the Bronx, running up and down the block. Crazy little girl who used to f***ing be wild and no limits, all dreams.”

In response to the clip, one TikToker named photosbyangela claimed that she and Lopez had gone to the same Catholic high school, and accused Lopez of “lying” and of using the Bronx to “look human”.

(primevideo/TikTok)

“We both attended an all-girls high school in an Irish and Italian neighbourhood, so you weren’t ‘running up and down the block,’” she said.

The controversy inspired people to dig into Lopez’s past interviews to find other occasions where she has riffed off her Bronxite status. In one, a 2022 Vogue 73 Questions home tour, Lopez shared her go-to bodega order – a “ham and cheese on a roll with an orange drink”. “If you know you know,” she added.

Unfortunately, many people did not know and questioned the authenticity of her order. “What the f*** is an orange drink?” asks one TikToker’s mother, who he says lived in the Bronx.

In the midst of all this, Lopez’s critiquing of other female actors in a 1998 interview with Movieline resurfaced online.

On Oscar-nominated actress Selma Hayek, Lopez said: “We’re in two different realms. She’s a sexy bombshell and those are the kinds of roles she does. I do all kinds of different things.”

Cameron Diaz was “a lucky model who’s been given a lot of opportunities I just wish she would have done more with”.

And on Oscar-winner Gwyneth Paltrow, Lopez said: “I swear to God, I don’t remember anything she was in. Some people get hot by association. I heard more about her and Brad Pitt than I ever heard about her work.”

Lopez has apologised profusely since then for her remarks, claiming she was “misquoted and so taken out of context”.

Unfortunately, such context rarely finds its way to a viral post. With This is Me… Now: A Love Story, Lopez opened herself up to a raft of new soundbites that might come back to haunt her.

With her tour now cancelled, it could be some time before Jenny From the Block finds some respite from social media.

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