Both Kanye West and Ashton Kutcher Are Feuding With Retail Companies
What an age we live in where celebrities and corporations can publicly duke it out on the Internet! The future is now, etc. Yes, two of the most notable celebrity twitterers—Ashton Kutcher (one of the first) and Kanye West (who has never seen a lower-case tweet he’s been able to restrain himself from turning up)—are currently embroiled in online feuds with retail companies.
Let’s break down the two feuds and assess the “heat level” of each on a 1-10 scale (1: a brief, silent, passive aggressive stare when a stranger sits right next to you at the movie theater instead of one seat over; 10: a wine-soaked Real Housewives screaming match).
Ashton vs. Walmart
Ashton tweeted a link earlier this week to a story about some Walmart employees in Ohio holding a food drive for the company’s own “struggling workers.” Ashton added his own commentary: “Walmart is your profit margin so important you can’t Pay Your Employees enough to be above the poverty line?” “Walmart” tweeted back to him (“It’s unfortunate that an act of human kindness has been taken so out of context. We’re proud of our associates in Canton”), and we were off to the (140-character-or-less) races.
Ashton then fired off a series of targeted tweets at Walmart: “you should be proud of your associates but I’m not sure if they should be proud of you. you had 17 billion in profits last year. You're a 260 billion$ company. What are we missing? being responsible to shareholders at the expense of the welfare of your employees doesn’t work. Walmart does a lot of great things but it needs to be a leader on this issue as well.”
Walmart at first seemed like it was aiming for a détente (“We know you believe in opportunity like we do & we’d love to talk to you more about it”) but then couldn’t help but send off a string of clarifying tweets about employee compensation.
Assessment: We rate this feud a 4. Both sides were polite and restrained in their discourse. More points might have been awarded had there been a backstory here (say, if Walmart had slept with an ex-girlfriend of Ashton’s).
Kanye vs. Zappos
On Bret Easton Ellis’s podcast this week (see, this one already feels juicier, doesn’t it?), Kanyewent off on a tangent about Zappos.com: “I got into this giant argument with the head of Zappos.com that he’s trying to tell me what I need to focus on. Meanwhile, he sells all this s--t product to everybody, his whole thing is based off of selling s--t product.”
Zappos attemped to respond to Kanye’s diss with humor, a very high-risk maneuver. If they succeeded is up for debate. Zappos is now featuring what looks to a be a toilet plunger on its site for sale for $100,000. The product is named—you guessed it—“Zappos.com Gear Sh-t Product.” Hmmm. Well, they certainly went literal in their attempt at some levity! The description reads: “Interested in buying sh-t product? You’ve come to the right place! Here at Zappos.com, we happily sell sh-t products to everybody! This is the throne, everyone has been watching. Whether you’re #1 or #2, your clique will show no mercy, even in Paris.”
No response from Kanye yet, but oh how we hope he dedicates an afternoon to tweeting about this. We’re in desperate need of another “#NODISRESPECTTOBENAFFLECK” invention.
Assessment: This one gets an 8. There seems to be some real anger here on Kanye’s part, and Zappos may have overplayed its hand with this response. Potential for a 9 or 10 when/if Kanye leaps back into the virtual ring.