Online celebrity feuds becoming trendy: are they to save floundering careers?

Twitter battle ensues between Oprah Winfrey and Stacey Dash

Twitter battle ensues between Oprah Winfrey and Stacey Dash

When Twitter launched in 2006, it was launched with a singular purpose in mind; to keep users close to the information they care about. As of 2012, more than 500 million registered users were sharing everything from photos, to recipes, to status updates with their fan base. But recently, the tide of the Twitter-sphere has shifted, and gone the way of a tabloid publication.

Celebrity feuds are nothing new in the media, but here in the 21st century cyberspace has created a whole new place for celebs to vent their disdain for each other to a worldwide audience. For many of these celebs, it is a way to challenge more established stars to boost their sagging popularity. Case in point; Stacy Dash and Oprah Winfrey.

In a recent interview while shilling for her latest film work, Lee Daniel’s “The Butler,” media mogul Oprah compared the recent Florida case of Trayvon Martin trial to the murder and trial of Illinois teen Emmett Till in 1955 in Mississippi. In that case, Till was abducted from a relative’s home, taken to a barn where he was tortured and murdered by the husband and brother-in-law of a woman Till had spoken to earlier in a grocery store. The case made headlines due to the decision at the trial to acquit the men accused of the crime.

Apparently, Oprah’s words set off something in Dash, who took to the Twitter-sphere to lash out at Winfrey for her comparison.

If You aren’t careful, The newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed And loving the people who are doing the oppressing ~ Malcolm X Oprah Compares Trayvon Martin to Emmett Till; Says Obama is “Smart” for Not Appearing on Fox News http://foxnewsinsider.com/2013/08/07/oprah-compares-trayvon-martin-emmett-till-says-obama-smart-not-appearing-fox-news via @foxnewsinsider Shame on you @oprah

Dash, the “star” of such films as “Clueless” and “Above the Top,” is an unwavering supporter of the Republican Party, and supported former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the most recent election calling him “the only hope for the future.”  She has tweeted on a number of hot-button political topics such as immigration reform, requiring voter ID’s and the military presence in Syria.

KK copy

Reality celeb Kim Kardashian and journalist turned talk show host Katie Courid

In a similar vein, “celebrity” Kim Kardashian recently fired back at journalist and talk show host Katie Couric on Twitter, and Couric made a statement recently to “In Style” magazine about her thoughts on the Kardashian family, and their contribution to the entertainment industry.

“I don’t understand … Why are they so famous,” Couric to the magazine. “I think it’s mostly teenage girls that are interested.”

Attempting to make a mea culpa to Kardashian after the recent birth of her first child with boyfriend Kanye West, Couric sent a gift to the couple with an enclosed note that read as follows:

Dear Kim and Kanye
Congratulations on the birth of your baby girl!
And may I humbly suggest you continue the K tradition for names
Fondly, Katie Couric

This “breach of etiquette” by Couric apparently unleashed something in Kardashian that could be likened to a post-partum hormonal imbalance, causing her to fire back on Instagram with the following hash tag laden dig:

#IHateFakeMediaFriends #MayIHumblySuggestYouNotSendGiftsThenTalkShit

The similarity between these two instances is simple; an unquenchable desire to remain relevant. Dash, who has had little media attention for her acting as of late has chosen to take to the web to share her political beliefs about the state of the country, challenging the current administration of President Barack Obama with Tweets like “This White House is like Lord Of The Flies. Someone please! Get the conch shell and lead us!”

Rapper Kanye West and celeb baby-momma Kim Kardashian

Rapper Kanye West and celeb baby-momma Kim Kardashian

Similar can be said for Kardashian. Since her “subsidized” wedding to basketballer Kris Humphreys, and their subsequent divorce, her “star” has been a bit on the decline. The pairing with rapper with West has done little to improve her popularity, as West is no stranger to media controversy.  West has repeatedly been at odds with reporters and paparazzi; just days ago the Los Angeles district attorney’s office chose not to pursue charges filed against the rapper by a reporter he allegedly got into a scuffle with at Los Angeles International Airport. The case is currently being reviewed by the Los Angeles city attorney for potential misdemeanor charges, which could pave the way for a civil suit.

Incidentally, sales of West’s most recent musical endeavor, “Yeesus,” dropped 80% in its second week of release, the 4th largest drop in history. Could his celeb status be in jeopardy as well?

So the question remains; is launching a “celebrity feud” on the internet the way to remain relevant? In the Dash vs. Winfrey battle, Oprah has taken the high road and remained mum on the topic. Couric did release a statement, taking the high road as one would expect saying:

“I didn’t mean to hurt her feelings. The gift is genuine and I’m happy for Kim and Kanye.”

From the responses of some of their own followers, these two “battle-challenging celebrities,” should keep their thoughts to themselves and off the Twitter-sphere; #zipyourlips.

What are your thoughts on the celebrity cyber wars? Weigh in with your comments.

 

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Embattled Paula Deen finally makes delayed “Today” appearance, but no direct apology

Embattled lifestyle guru Paula Deen makes “Today” show appearance

Lifestyle guru Paula Deen has been on more of a defensive than an apology tour this week. Her most recent stop was on NBC’s “Today” show. During the interview, Deen spoke a great deal about how the scandal has affected her personally, but didn’t utter a direct apology.

“I have been overwhelmed and in a state of shock,” said Deen. “There have been some very hurtful lies said about me.”

Lauer came out of the chute by grilling Deen on how the loss of sponsors and endorsement deals have affect her, and her business empire.

“Let me say this Matt,” Deen said, “what I am here today to talk about is what I believe, and how I live my life. I believe that every creature on this Earth, every one of God’s creatures was created equal.”

Lauer pushed the financial issue by quoting a headline that touted there were millions of dollars at stake tied to the “Today” show interview.

“Are you here to stop the financial bleeding,” Lauer asked.

“I am here today because I want people to really know who I am,” replied Deen once again deflecting the question.

The scandal stems from testimony offered in a deposition by Deen about her use of the derogatory “n” word with employees at her restaurants. Deen’s use of the word was also brought up in relation to a plantation themed wedding her restaurant catered for a private client.

“I am so grateful for the (business) partners that have stood by me,” was Deen’s only response to the number of sponsors who have dropped her brand or were considering doing so.

Lauer followed up by asking the burning hot-button question…is Paula Deen a racist?

“No, I am not a racist,” replied Deen. “I was raised in a house hold with a father who would tolerate bad grades or a broken curfew, but told me ‘girl if I ever find out that you have behaved in a way like you are better than anyone else your butt is mine.”

Lauer later asked Deen about her alleged use of the “n” word in the past. He cited that Deen admitted to using the word in her sworn deposition, and included an excerpt from her testimony regarding whether using the “n” word when telling a joke was acceptable.

Deen’s response was as follows:

“I don’t know. Most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks…I didn’t make up the jokes. They usually target, though, a group…I can’t, myself, determine what offends another person.”

“Do you have any doubt that African Americans are offended by the ‘n’ word,” asked Lauer.

“I don’t know Matt,” responded Deen. “I have asked myself that so many times because it’s so distressing to go into my kitchens and I hear what these young people are calling each other. It’s very, very distressing.”

“You never joined in on that language,” asked Lauer.

“No,” said Deen emphatically, “absolutely not!”

Later, Lauer asked Deen if upon reflection she wished that she had fudged the truth a bit.

“No,” she replied. “I am only prejudiced against two types of people; thieves and liars.”

Deen became quite emotional at the end of the interview, and while never offering an actual apology, alluded to the fact that she has apologized on previous occasions, and spoke about how the hurtful words and speculation had been damaging to not just Deen and her business but to family and friends as well.

“The people that know me, they are angry,” she said.

At the end of the interview, Deen evoked the words in the Bible regarding sin, and chalked up much of what has happened to a case of professional jealousy.

“If there is a person out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, if you’re out there, please pick up that stone and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me, please. I want to meet you. I is what I is, and I’m not changing. And, there’s someone evil out there that saw what I had worked for and they wanted it.”

What do you think of Paula’s interview on the “Today” show? Weigh in with comments.

Commentary on what today’s SCOTUS rulings mean to me

Same sex marriageI must admit, I never thought marriage was in the cards for me. Aside from the fact that same-sex marriage isn’t legal in my state, I chalked it up to consistently making poor choices in the relationship department. But the U.S. Supreme Court rulings today on DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and California’s Proposition 8 has made me rethink that. Not for myself, but for all of those who want not just the legal benefits of marriage, but the recognition as well.

I was at a party a few weeks ago for a friend’s birthday. Laughter and fun prevailed all afternoon. In attendance were two other friends, a gay male couple, who were speaking about their upcoming civil union ceremony. A young lady in attendance didn’t have a full understanding of what it all meant, and asked the question.

“Imagine if you will that you and your boyfriend are married,” my friend began, “and God forbid he dies. There is no question of you inheriting his estate without any legal or taxable issues, right”

She nodded in agreement.

“Now, imaging the same scenario for the two of us. Suppose I die, and want to leave my entire estate to my partner. Even though we are joined in a civil union, my death and his inheritance becomes a huge taxable occurrence for him. Does that seem fair?”

The young lady looked at him with a new sense of understanding…and compassion.

“Not at all,” she replied.

I am paraphrasing the actual story a bit, but this is the gist of the content. Did I mention that the gay couple in question has been together for 34 years? I would say that in this instance, that is quite a significant part of the story.

Even though the Supreme Court stopped short of a sweeping ruling on gay marriage with Proposition 8, the death of DOMA is of huge significance. While understandable in its conception, DOMA is been lorded over the gay community like the sword of Damocles for years. Now, with its death, states can re-examine their own laws. I suspect that while today has been a great victory, to battle has just begun for the 35+ states that currently have a same-sex marriage ban on their books.

Later today, my friends will be holding their civil union ceremony in a downtown courthouse. While seemingly less significant to some yesterday, it means quite a bit more today. It means that the struggles and prejudice the have experienced through their 34 years together have not been for naught, and that their relationship takes another step forward to complete equality not just for themselves, but for all of us.

As for me, I do have someone who is becoming more and more significant in my life now. Will we get to the point of the “talk” about a civil union…or heaven forbid…marriage? It’s too soon to say…at least from where I sit. But should the topic come up sometime in the future, I may consider it a bit more seriously. I never thought it was in the cards for me. But he is changing my mind…and today’s Supreme Court rulings are helping to plead his case as well.

The war on words: do you mean what you say when you say it?

In business…and in life, words matter. Do yours?

Let’s face it, words do matter. Not just in business, but in life as well. But when the words come from your mouth, do you really mean them? Do you understand their importance? Check out this article from ProducersWEB on the importance of what we say…and how we say it.

As always, we welcome your comments.

Last day for Chase Community Giving Campaign…vote TODAY!!

Final day for Chase Charitable Giving campaign, VOTE NOW!!

The charitable giving season is ramping up! Soon your email and mailbox will be inundated with pleas for your support. One of the most worthwhile of these charitable givers is the Chase Community Giving campaign. This year Chase is donating $5 million dollars to deserving charities across the country, and today is the last day to vote!

From our perspective, there are two very deserving charities in the running; The Tennyson Center for Children and Denver Children’s Advocacy Center. Both desperately need your help. The contest deadline is today, September 19th, and to put them in contention for a greater amount from Chase, they need your vote. The best part is that you have 2 votes you can cast in this Facebook based contest. So hit that link and VOTE TODAY!!

The Chick-Fil-A brand laying an egg with consumers according to online marketing tracker

The Chick-Fil-A brand is laying a tougher egg than this chicken

The fallout continues for Chick-Fil-A after comments made by its chairman. Dan Cathy’s anti-gay rant during a recent radio show has had swift and profound fallout on the brand, and its position in the marketplace. According to online market tracker YouGov BrandIndex.com, the company’s brand has taken a significant hit. It’s consumer brand rating has dropped to its lowest level since 2010 and insiders feel that this is due directly to the comments made by CEO Cathy.

Chick-Fil-A was one of the top five best perceived QSR (quick service restaurants) restaurant chains in the U.S. over the first half of this year, according to YouGov BrandIndex data. YouGov BrandIndex measurement scores range from 100 to -100 and are compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.

On July 16th, the day the Baptist Press published its Dan Cathy interview, Chick-Fil-A’s Index score was 65, a very substantial 19 points above the Top National QSR Sector average score that day of 46.

Four days later, Chick-Fil-A had fallen to 47 score, three points below the Top National QSR Sector average score of 50. This past Wednesday, Chick-Fil-A had a 39 score compared to the Top National QSR Sector average score of 43.

The brands QSR rating in its home territory of the south has taken a beating. Respondents in the South took Chick-Fil-A from an Index score of 80 on July 16th to its current 44. Chick-Fil-A’s biggest drop took place in the Northeast, where it went from 76 to 35, a difference of 41 points.

Chick-Fil-A’s corporate office has remained silent on these results, but it would appear the writing is on the wall; Americans aren’t happy with such a blatant hatred. What do you think of these findings? Comments are welcome…

A heap of mistakes can come with a company startup. Here are some tips to finding your own way.

Think your business idea is enough? Think again!

Anyone who has ever launched a company knows that the mistakes you make in the beginning can be daunting. But as the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20, and what’s done is usually pretty much…done. Still, it would be great to be able to get the insights of some of the biggest up-and-comers in the business world? Now you can…

Thanks to Mashable.com, here are some of the best tidbits for business entrepreneurs that may help you navigate the waters of your business launch a bit easier.

What tips would you suggest to entrepreneurs? Drop us a comment or two…we’d love to hear from you!