Pop star Ariana Grande has hit out at Piers Morgan with a series of tweets in defence of women who choose to show off their bodies.
The ITV presenter criticised girl band Little Mix for posing naked.
He mocked their “feminist statement” and accused the group of using sex to sell records.
Grande, who Little Mix has supported on tour, then waded in to the spat: “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,” Grande tweeted.
How did the row start?
Piers Morgan is known for being a provocateur on issues like this.
During a debate about the image and Little Mix on ITV’s Good Morning Britain earlier this week, he said the girl band were using a naked photo shoot for attention and accused them of “using sex to sell records”.
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The photograph, which was used to promote their new song Strip, showed the band naked with insults written all over their bodies.
The band told the BBC the image represents all of their flaws and “how far they’ve come” on a journey toward “self-love”.
The lyrics of their latest song include lines like: “Finally love me naked, sexiest when I’m confident.”
But Morgan made it clear he didn’t buy their message of body positivity.
“Here’s a great idea, girls – if you want to really empower yourselves, get naked and put the word slut all over your body,” Morgan said on GMB, before showing a mock photo-shopped image of him posing with insults all over his body.
“Why don’t we stop pretending that getting your kit off is feminist empowerment?” he added, citing other celebrities who have posed nude including Kim Kardashian.
The row between the band and Morgan then escalated further when member Jesy Nelson told the BBC’s Nick Grimshaw on Radio 1 she was not surprised by his comments before using an expletive to describe the TV host.
She then posted pictures of herself posing in underwear on her Instagram account.
The next day, Morgan said on the programme: “Oh Jesy, you’ve let yourself down, love” before demanding a public apology from the band.
He also tweeted that the 27-year-old looked “ridiculous” and suggested the band had stolen the idea for the photograph from the Dixie Chicks.
So why is Ariana now involved?
In recent days, Morgan had also accused the Ellen DeGeneres show of hypocrisy for a segment where she “celebrated” images of handsome men, including some partially clothed.
Ariana Grande’s mother, Joan, waded into the row by quoting Morgan’s tweet about Dixie Chicks and saying: “Didn’t your mother ever teach you, if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it!”
The presenter then replied, doubling down on his accusation that the band were using their nudity to sell records.
Joan issued a scathing reply, saying: “Trash talk for the sake of denigrating women doing their jobs is at best misogynistic and at worst undignified and ignorant!”
Grande then clapped back at Morgan with a series of tweets of her own about women’s right to choose to show their bodies off.
The singer also accused him of hypocrisy while supporting the band, who have toured with her and performed at her One Love Manchester concert.
“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,” Ariana added.
She ended the string of messages with (a slightly more explicit version) of her now-trademark phrase from her latest song: “thank u, next”.
Ellen and Little Mix both shared their support.
But Piers Morgan remained defiant with tweets of his own.
He then asked if her screensaver was him posing naked, before asking her to come on his Good Morning Britain show to “settle things”.
While that’s unlikely to happen, Morgan seemed very pleased with the outcome of the row.
As he probably intended, his name was trending worldwide on Twitter after her tweets.
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