Open Letter

Lady GaGa

Lady GaGa (photo from ibtimes.com)

In the last week, Lady GaGa has been in the news on more than one occasion. One is a plagiarism lawsuit surrounding her song Judas that also somehow involves Jennifer LopezInvading My Mind. She’s also been criticised for wearing a gun bra during live performances (that was originally present for her 2010 video Alejandro) that some say is too soon following the mass shootings at the elementary school in Connecticut. She has since removed it from her show. And she was involved in a battle of words with Sharon Osbourne over a note she wrote to her daughter Kelly regarding bullying. It was the gun story that received the most press though I think the series of messages between GaGa and Osbourne to be more interesting, significant and deservingly newsworthy.

On Jan. 10, Lady GaGa wrote an “open letter” to Kelly Osbourne regarding Kelly’s show Fashion Police on the E! network that she co-hosts with Joan Rivers, Giuliana Rancic and George Kotsiopoulos. She says to Kelly: “Your work on E! with the Fashion Police is rooted in criticism, judgment, and rating people’s beauty against one another,” before citing visual appearances as the top reason for bullying. GaGa then reminds Kelly of a time when she herself was on the receiving end of similar comments before losing 50 lbs and completely changing her look. She then wishes for Kelly “to be treated with the kindness and respect that everyone deserves.” A respectable letter with many good points.

Sharon Osbourne

Sharon Osbourne (photo from Washington Post)

Kelly’s mom, Sharon, responds the next day. Sharon’s letter questions why GaGa’s message was made public, reminds GaGa that it is her duty to stop her fans from “from writing libelous, slanderous and vile comments about my family, including death threats to Kelly,” and defends Kelly’s show with the line “Welcome to the real world.” Finally, she calls her out regarding her own fashion choices, stating “When I see you wearing fur, and using it as a fashion statement, the fact that defenseless animals have been killed so you can get your picture in the press is abhorrent to me.” She ends the letter demanding that GaGa “stop wearing fur, stop looking for publicity, and stop using your fans to belittle not just Kelly but an endless stream of celebrities,” adding that a word from GaGa would stop her fans from negative behaviour.

Both letters contain legitimate points. In Sharon’s note, posted on her Facebook page, she also includes an email she wrote to GaGa’s manager referencing a letter she sent last year referencing the attacks that fans of GaGa made toward Kelly through social media. In it, she says that one tweet from GaGa would stop them. No response.

Sharon accuses GaGa of making the letter public to get attention. I won’t disagree that it might not have been the wisest choice for GaGa to write a public letter to Kelly knowing that her fans would likely jump on it as well. While it’s likely that GaGa’s intention was to draw attention to her anti-bullying campaign that she has been so adamantly pushing over the last couple years, as history has shown, her fans aren’t the most polite creatures. During Adele-rein 2011, many GaGa fans took to Twitter to venomously insult Adele’s weight because she was outperforming GaGa in nearly every aspect including radio airplay and record/singles sales. However, GaGa did directly address them on Twitter when she told them to knock it off. The fact of the matter is, hardcore fans of any diva act the same way. It’s not only GaGa’s fans; it’s Mariah‘s fans, Christina‘s fans, Madonna‘s fans, and so on. Considering GaGa’s ongoing message of acceptance that she has placed in nearly every aspect of her public being, if her fans don’t absorb that, they likely won’t listen to her when she demands they play nice.

Fashion Police

The Cast of Fashion Police (photo from hollywoodreporter.com)

Regarding GaGa’s initial letter, she brings up many good points as well. While I’ve never seen a full episode of Fashion Police, I’ve watched some YouTube clips for the purpose of this blog post. What I saw was catty, superficial, vile and insulting. The entire show bases itself around criticising how celebrities look. I only saw criticism. No compliments. One of the segments of the show has the hosts guess whether a celebrity photograph (with face blanked out) is a “starlet” or a “streetwalker” based on the outfit. The show goes way beyond the “best and worst dressed” segments of most Hollywood entertainment shows. Quite frankly, if Kelly Osbourne wasn’t a co-host of the show, you can almost bet she would have been a regular target for Joan Rivers to hurl insults at.

Since then, GaGa has responded to Sharon’s post with a tweet: “The “real world” can be cruel, why not try to change it into a better place? I am an activist. Nobody takes adolescents seriously, I do.” and “My letter to @MissKellyO was open, because her statements on cyber-bulling were public & as a youth activist I’m compelled to be involved.”

Say what you will about Lady GaGa. But she has put a lot of work and effort into helping bullied youth. The North American leg of her tour, which started last week, has a Born Brave bus which follows her own tour bus and invites youth to find out how they can get help and help out against bullying. Her tweets are always positive and complimentary, both to her fans and other celebs. She tweeted this week how proud she was of Justin Bieber and his fans – likely to sway her own from attacking them since he is closing in on her record number of twitter followers. Both are just over 33 million each.

Sharon’s defence of animals is admirable and one I wouldn’t argue against but it hardly stands as justification for the level of intolerance and negative behaviour a show like Kelly’s Fashion Police introduces. They might just be targeting celebrities, who are to expect this type of negative criticism, but it invites the idea that this type of discussion is acceptable in a generation where huge percentages of people, not only youth, experience bullying on a regular basis.

Thoughts and discussion are welcome and encouraged. 🙂

4 comments

  • Joan Rivers is going to die a miserable old cow. She isn’t funny, she has a trucker mouth, and is the most superficial Beeeyotch in the world. And she is ugly so I don’t get it at all. I really don’t get it. I am not one of her gays, not one bit.

  • Personally, I would commend Lady Gaga for writing about that to Kelly. I absolutely abhor shows like “What Not to Wear” and anything of its kind. It’s ridiculous. I find the people on the appalling. Why should people be made to feel inferior because they choose to wear something they like instead of forcing themselves to overspend on a bunch of clothing they don’t really care for, but are only buying for the image?

    I remember watching an episode of WNTW once. They brought this woman to tears because they wanted her to throw out this Disney sweater she owned, despite the fact that it had a lot of sentimental value to her. She had to beg them not to make her throw it out. Awful people. And “fashion” is entirely relative and made up by a small group of people anyway.

    Also, fuck Kelly Osbourne. ~Fin~

    • I think What Not To Wear is a legitimate show though. They typically don’t insult the people on it and aren’t out to make people feel bad about themselves. Yeah, the beginning of each episode makes the person feel bad because I think it’s mostly through their own not knowing what they should be wearing. As much as we’d all like to think looks aren’t important, they are. First impressions are important and first impressions are 85% visual before the person even speaks.
      I also think there’s a difference between wearing something for sentimental value that they actually like and wearing something for the purposes of presenting themselves appropriately. I love my Ninja Turtles and Angry Birds shirts but I realize that wearing them gets me no points if I want to be taken at all seriously in nearly any setting.
      A show like What Not To Wear tends to be tactful and focuses more on educating people on wearing clothes that brings out their best features. I’ve heard Stacey tell that to people in nearly every episode. They don’t focus on what’s “in” but rather what makes the best look for them. Based on the several episodes I’ve watched, it seems most people have a problem with actually wearing clothes that fit – whether their clothes are too big or too small.

      With that said, I’d like to see a version of the show that incorporates money-savings into it. What Not To Wear: Thrift Shop edition, using the Macklemore song as the temporary theme!

      Otherwise, I’m sure we agree on shows like Fashion Police that actually offers no constructive criticism or value to anyone who watches it.

  • The thing I don’t get is why people are acting as if Gaga’s open letter came out of nowhere. It was published within days of Kelly Osbourne giving an interview in which she mentioned that Gaga had the worst fans in the world and talked about the bullying that she experiences from them.

    Now, personally, I tend to agree that Little Monsters are annoying as fuck. The die hards are some of the dumbest, most vile people I’ve seen on the Internet. But, as Gaga rightly pointed out, Kelly Osbourne isn’t exactly in a position to be criticizing others of bullying. (Though you could very well get into a long discussing about how hatred begets hatred.)

    Honestly, I thought Sharon’s letter was pretty ridiculous and is just being eaten up by people who want to see Gaga taken down a peg or two. There’s very little in there that actually works in her favour.

    Gaga’s choice to wear animal products is definitely questionable – especially since her justifications so often come off as that very Gaga-esque kind of bullshit. (Remember her post-meat dress interview with Ellen?) However, Sharon doesn’t have a single leg to stand on. She is, after all, the woman who married Ozzy Osbourne. If you’re cool with sleeping with a guy who bit the head off a bat for publicity, don’t try to shame Lady Gaga for wearing fur. It becomes very obvious very quickly that you’re grasping at straws.

    Second, if Sharon was at all concerned about anyone but Kelly, she would know that Gaga *clearly* does not have control over her fans, who are admittedly a very hateful, nasty bunch. The Adele jokes haven’t stopped. Gaga has been very constant in her anti-bullying campaign. If they aren’t able to get anything out of the work she’s been doing for years now, they’re likely not going to respond to a single tweet.

    Finally, I think the people questioning why Gaga decided to publish her letter are maybe not getting the whole story? The interview I mentioned above had been circulating various sites (I first saw it on HuffPo) and was getting a reaction from Gaga’s fans, who were pissed at Kelly Osbourne for calling them the worst fans in the world.

    For a lot of celebrities, that’s not a huge deal. But there’s no way that someone like Gaga, who has strong ties to cyberbullying and is probably the most fan-focused celebrity out there right now, could let that go by. There had to be some sort of public response to her (any attempt to be semi-public would just fail immediately) to appease her hurt fans and to respond to an issue that is at the centre of a non-profit organization that bears her name.

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