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CMU Beef Of The Week #163: Rihanna v Liz Jones

By | Published on Friday 28 June 2013


The Daily Mail’s resident character comedian Liz Jones has found herself in a spot of bother with her latest column parodying the very newspaper she’s writing for, in which she refers to Rihanna as “toxic” and a “poisonous pop princess [who] should come with a government health warning”.

In the article, Jones describes the two occasions when she has ‘hung’ with ‘Riri”, saying: “The first time I met Rihanna, the pop princess was seated next to Vogue editor Anna Wintour wearing a demure dress, with her hair in ringlets, for all the world as though she was Shirley Temple. She sipped at her flute of champagne throughout dinner and clearly had one thing in mind: appearing on the cover of American Vogue (she got it, too, in November last year) and possibly a high-end fashion advertising campaign of the kind Ms Wintour can facilitate”.

She continued: “The second encounter I had with her was during London Fashion Week last February. Rihanna came down the catwalk at the end of the presentation of her first collection for teen label River Island, for which she was reportedly paid £800,000. She looked pretty. She wasn’t exposing any under-boob. She certainly wasn’t pretending to ram a jewelled microphone into her nether regions, as she has been doing on stage of late. Her teenage female fans queued around the block that night to catch a glimpse of their idol, who has sold more than 100 million records around the world”.

BUT THERE IS A DARK SIDE TO ALL THIS, Jones quickly pointed out. A DARK, DARK, DARK SIDE. I’m paraphrasing. Slightly. Rihanna might be all nice and properly dressed when she’s at fancy dinners with fashion magazine editors or showing off a new clothing range at a plush fashion industry shingdig, but other times – Jones warns the world – she’s up there on the Twitter waggling her boobs and holding “two giant, phallic spliffs in her red-lipsticked mouth”.

I’m not sure they’d be quite as phallic if Jones hadn’t bookended her description with the language of a porn mag letters page, but whatever, Rihanna did do that, posting an image of herself with a couple of joints while in Amsterdam and sharing it for all of her 30 million Twitter followers to enjoy. And it’s this that has pushed Jones over the edge. Because most of the singer’s Twitter followers, according to Jones, are eight and nine year old girls. And as we all know, “young women are far more impressionable than young men”, so Rihanna should really be more careful about these things.

Though all this rage isn’t just based on a one-off incident mind. Jones has other concerns about the impact Rihanna is having on impressionable female children. Not least that the pop lady is going to convince all these girls to plug themselves into IV vitamin drips. Now, I’m an old, old man, so I have no idea what it’s like out there, but my guess is that if an eight year old girl goes out looking for an IV vitamin drip, it’s not that especially easy to come by. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe you’re all at it since Rihanna interneted a picture of herself hooked up to one just over a year ago.

Anyway, clearly not getting that Liz Jones’ column is obviously a satirical joke designed to a) show that the Daily Mail has a sense of humour about itself and b) justify publishing a load of pictures of Rihanna in her pants, the singer reacted angrily to the opinion piece.

Using Instagram to deliver her response, Rihanna wrote: “LOL! My money got a bad habit of pissing people off! If you sincerely wanna help little girls more than their own parents do, here’s a toxic tip: don’t be amateur with your articles, you sound bitter! What’s all this about hair and nails and costumes and tattoos? That shit ain’t clever! That shit ain’t journalism! That’s a sad sloppy menopausal mess!”

She continued: “Nobody over here acts like they’re perfect! I don’t pretend that I’m like you, I just live… my life! And I don’t know why y’all still act so surprised by any of it! ‘Role Model’ is not a position or title that I have ever campaigned for, so chill wit dat! I got my own fucked up shit to work on, I’ll never portray that as perfect, but for right now it’s ME! Call it what ya want! ‘Toxic’ was cute, ‘poisonous pop princess’ had a nice ring to it, just a lil wordy!”

So take that Ms Jones. Oh, and Rihanna says you got your facts wrong. “My first American Vogue cover was in 2011… APRIL!” she shouts. Meaning that the lunch with Anna Wintour was probably to discuss active work, not schmooze her way onto the Vogue cover for the first time. How could Jones have got the wrong end of the stick? Or when she says ‘met Rihanna’, perhaps she means she saw the singer across the room with Wintour. Or maybe she was staring through the restaurant window. But it matters not, character comedians are allowed some artistic licence surely?

Anyway, I’ve just been totting up the score to work out who won this one and it turns out it’s… um… nobody. Better luck next time.