Twitter is a splendid source of breaking news, humorous musings and mundanities. But its main use is as a verbal boxing ring for celebrity ire, with the great and not-so-good taking on each other and the general public in 140 characters or less…
1. Piers Morgan vs Everybody
The list of celebs having a pop at CNN’s British motor-mouthpiece is extensive. Rio Ferdinand told him, “If I wanted a grammar lesson I’d have gone to @stephenfry not a SACKED editor,” Joey Barton called him an “elitist prat”, Gary Lineker urged him to stay in America – an idea the US didn’t seem too keen on – Lily Allen used Twitter to publicly refuse to go on his show, Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen have both tweeted to tell him he has breasts, while One Direction crowdsourced their army of more than nine-million followers to get “Piers Morgan is smelly” trending worldwide. If you’re on Twitter and haven’t told Piers he’s a cretin, you’re nobody.
2. Giles Coren vs Alice Vincent
Thinking-man’s bus-stop loony, and former T3 columnist, Coren once castigated The Times’ sub-editors for over 1,000 words in an email, but in 2012, when Huffington Post journalist Alice Vincent tweeted that his column was “one step up from a Mumsnet blogpost”, the columnist was more succinct. “Go f*ck yourself, you barren old hag,” he snapped. Vincent’s reply that she was only 23 merited a compromise of sorts: “Well, then, go f*ck yourself you barren young hag. Sorry for the assumption. It was based on your elderly, dessicated [sic] tone.”
3. Anderson Cooper vs “foodie”
People don’t like having their professionalism questioned, especially not when they’ve been up all night having missiles fired at them Silver fox-style confirmed bachelor and CNN anchor Anderson Cooper snapped when one follower – self described “foodie” Pamela Weiss – instructed him to “report a fair story” from the Gaza Strip. Cooper’s riposte? “Spend less time tweeting about coconut flan and more time actually following the news.” Ouch.
4. Bret Easton Ellis vs Kathryn Bigelow
The American Psycho author isn’t afraid to speak his mind, with Twitter “highlights” including wanting to “bang the kid with cerebral palsy” from hit US show Breaking Bad and taking aim at acclaimed director Kathryn Bigelow (Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty), stating she would be “considered a mildly interesting filmmaker if she was a man but since she’s a very hot woman she’s really overrated”. After widespread criticism Ellis responded by saying “follow or unfollow, enjoy it or let it piss you off”, and announced a short break from Twitter (which he, unsurprisingly, did not take).
5. Victoria Coren vs Michael Winner
In 2011, when Giles’s sister, broadcaster and poker whiz Victoria complained about sexist posts from the film director-turned-insurance salesman’s Twitter account, she implied diplomatically that romantic missives such as “VICTORIA ALL MY TWEETERS ARE RIVETED BY YOUR BOSOMS” had been sent by some third party who had hacked the now-deceased director’s account. This was because they were “so badly spelt as to be incomprehensible”. Yet, remarkably, it turned out it was Winner, and the next day he tweeted: “Victoria Coren is RUDE. I don’t know her, don’t want to know her.” Cue the Twittersphere urging him to calm down, dear.
6. James Martin vs Bradley Wiggins
In 2009, back when the majority of you wouldn’t recognise Wiggins if he came up to you and said, “Hi, I’m Bradley Wiggins,” TV chef and Daily Mail motoring columnist Martin retold how he was driving in his sports car and encountered some cyclists, a “bunch of City-boy ponces in fluorescent Spider-Man outfits”. He proceeded to blast his horn, causing them to fall into a hedge. Wiggins suggested that Martin, “stick to Ready Steady Twat”.
7. Caitlin Moran vs Dan Wootton
In 2011, following the closure of the News of the World, Times columnist Moran and NotW’s erstwhile showbiz editor Wootton locked horns after the former joked that if Hugh Grant didn’t phone to ask to be her friend in ten minutes she’d “get his number off someone at the NotW”. Wootton called her “appalling”, asked why she was still “happy to accept [her] £250k News Int salary” and suggested she should quit. Moran then requested: “Could we hurry this internet spat along and get to the inevitable point where you compare me to Nazi Germany?”
8. Lord Sugar vs Tulisa Contostavlos
Admiral Amstrad famously fell out with his US equivalent Donald Trump on Twitter but his spat with the X Factor host is less celebrated. In 2012, he tweeted that Tulisa “talks nonsense” and questioned her ability to judge a singing contest. Tulisa hit back, saying, “As someone that came from nothing to something maybe u should have a little more respect for people that have done the same.” Sugar’s reply? “Don’t insult me by comparing my humble beginnings with yours.” Ah, the beauty of Twitter – before this, neither of them had ever mentioned they were from humble backgrounds…