Ariana Grande is facing viral backlash by her fans for her impromptu run in with controversial right-wing media figure Piers Morgan. Many of her fans would be surprised at this encounter due to their bad blood of the past where Grande call Morgan out on Twitter for shaming women, in particular Brit pop girl band Little Mix. With Morgan accused them and later Grande of using their sexuality to sell records. Grande responded:
“I use my talent AND my sexuality all the time because I choose to. women can be sexual AND talented. naked and dignified. it’s OUR choice. & we will keep fighting til people understand. I say this w all due respect but thank u, next.”
In a second tweet she continued her point:
“Also @piersmorgan, I look forward to the day you realize there are other ways to go about making yourself relevant than to criticize young, beautiful, successful women for everything they do," she continued in a second tweet. "I think that’ll be a beautiful thing for you and your career or what’s left of it.”
Fate has it that Grande and Morgan ran into each other in an L.A restaurant earlier this week. This came to light when they both tweeted their mutual respect for one another and disclosed that a casual chat turned in hours of chatting, laughing, arguing and even crying. This interaction has angered many fans and were quick to remind Grande of Morgan’s misogynistic opinions. Though Grande did defend her actions by arguing that it gave her the opportunity to say everything that she wanted to say to Morgan and that her conversation with him does not mean she excuses any of his actions. Rather her motivation was for him to understand her perspective and “talk some sense into him”. But many judged the encounter as an act of complacency on Grande’s part. She was disappointed by this assumption, responding that just because she was hopeful that a person could change, it doesn’t mean that she was complacent. Further retaliating that people were judging her on a conversation that they didn’t even hear themselves. Her last response acknowledged that although she is hopeful, she is also realistic and realises that she isn’t a miracle worker but does try to see the best in people.
On the one hand, I can understand that her fans response would be a gut reaction, why would she entertain somebody who undermines her career by crediting her success to her sexuality? But I agree with Grande, it is important to address these issues head on by opening up a dialogue between those with differing beliefs to our own. How can progress possibly transpire if we isolate people like Morgan from the conversation? If anything, isolation would only further consolidate attitudes of misogyny.
Also I feel that those who called Grande complacent undermined her as it seems that those who accuse her of this do not believe that she is able to handle herself in a debate with Morgan. Which from their previous history, is unequivocally not the case as her responses on Twitter were both controlled and damning. She also has a history of calling out misogyny during radio interviews, proving that she is very much capable to debate with Morgan.
With the polarising politics across the Atlantic of President Trump and our current polarising predicament with Brexit, I feel that having open discussions has become even more vital in these uncertain times. Social media is a tool whereby these conversations could take place but unfortunately it is also a tool that fuels hatred and gives people are certain arrogance to attack different groups in society - the “keyboard warrior”. Grande herself even acknowledges the positive difference a face-to-face conversation can make compared to online, “Turns out face-to-face discussions are a bit kinder and gentler, even if you tend to disagree”.
Maybe if we were all as open to taking part in difficult conversations like Grande and Morgan have, our world may not be so divided.