Pop star Ariana Grande has hit out at Piers Morgan with a series of tweets in defence of women who chose to show off their bodies.
TV presenter Morgan, who frequently courts controversy with his comments, has hit headlines for mocking girl band Little Mix for posing naked.
In a morning television segment, Morgan mocked their “feminist statement” and accused them of trying to sell records.
After Grande was dragged into the row on Wednesday, she sharply rebuked him.
“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 “using sex to sell records”.
The photograph, which was used to promote their new song Strip, showed the band stripped back with insults written all over their bodies.
The band told the BBC’s Mark Savage that 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 the programme, 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 One she was not surprised by his comments.
“Of course not, he’s a silly twat,” she said, before posing again in her 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, before accusing her daughter Ariana of doing the same.
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 an explicit version) of her now-trademark phrase from her latest song: “thank u, next”
Ellen and Little Mix both shared their support. BBC