In the famous words of Taylor Swift, the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate –- but sometimes celebrities can’t just shake it off. Sometimes, the criticism is too mean or too absurd. Other times, things hit way too close to home. Would you believe that words still hurt when you’re reading them from a multi-million dollar mansion? Crazy, but it’s true. Fortunately, there’s no better medicine than a quick-witted clapback, whether someone’s nursing a bruised ego or snapping back at a troll who’s egregiously out of line.
It’s not surprising that so many stars have mastered the delicate art of roasting their most fervent naysayers. It’s a learned skill, crafted from years of dodging false tabloid reports, Hollywood in-fighting, and online abuse, and the best of the bunch do one of two things. Either we’re spitting out our drinks like that gif of Jennifer Lawrence or we’re getting hit with a truth bomb, not that the latter ever changes a troll’s mind. You might enlighten digital rubberneckers, but a troll never learns.
Nonetheless, you can still try, and these celebs definitely have. From Lizzo living her best life to Taylor Swift sitting on her throne of snakes, these are the most brutal celebrity clapbacks.
The truth hurts if you’re a hater
Lizzo was thrust into the spotlight when her song, « Truth Hurts, » peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Slowly but surely, she smashed the record for the longest reign at No. 1 by a female rapper, but that’s not the only standard she was hoping to rise above. Most of the artist’s career has been dedicated to destroying the narrow-minded, damaging beauty standards that plague Hollywood. Lizzo preaches self-love — whether she’s posing nude on the cover of her platinum-selling album, Cuz I Love You, or showing off her bum on Instagram — but it’s not always well-received.
While fans need not search further than the comments section of Lizzo’s Instagram account to find body-shamers, her criticism has evolved beyond trolls. In 2020, former Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels caught headlines for asking BuzzFeed‘s AM2DM, « Why are we celebrating her body? … ‘Cause it isn’t gonna be awesome if she gets diabetes. »
Six months later, Lizzo dished out the ultimate clap back in the form of a social media PSA that showed her working out and flaunting her figure. « It may come as a surprise to some of y’all, but I’m not working out to have your ideal body type, » the music star said in June 2020. « I’m working out to have my ideal body type — and you know what type that is? None of your f**king business. » The truth hurts, baby.
Jameela Jamil doesn’t care if you like her dress
For someone who’s wrapped filming The Good Place, Jameela Jamil has certainly dealt with a lot of people who are probably going to the bad place. The actress has positioned herself as an activist, regularly advocating for gender equality, LGBTQ+ rights, mental health, and chronic illness awareness. In the process, she’s collected more trolls than Trolls World Tour (which is somehow a movie that broke digital records).
While Jamil is known to dole out a strongly-worded clapback or two, one of her biggest mic drops wasn’t really about any of her causes. It happened when she shared a red carpet look on Twitter in November 2019, with the caption, « And to think I used to be self conscious about having broad shoulders. Now I love taking up SPACE. » That’s when a user named @teddyspaghetti0 bluntly replied, « Why would you leave the house looking that hideous? » The Twitter user further went on to accuse the star of « virtue signaling, » and Jamil was not about to be backed into corner.
« You saw a woman you’ve never met, dare to exude some confidence and thought, ‘oh I must tear her down,' » she wrote. « What a weird thought process. ‘She likes her dress. But I don’t personally like her dress. I Have to tell her in the meanest way possible! What a cool guy I am!' » Though Teddy Spaghetti attempted to respond, Jamil had already dropped her mic and bruised the poor soul’s ego. Tahani would be proud.
Chrissy Teigen married rich — what did you do?
It takes one to know one. Chrissy Teigen is a clapback queen, because she also happens to be Hollywood’s resident Internet troll. We saw as much when she was blocked by the president on Twitter in July 2017. « After 9 years of hating Donald J Trump, telling him ‘lol no one likes you’ was the straw, » she wrote, boasting about her permanent ban from his public feed (as if she wasn’t going to read the tweets in incognito mode anyway).
Needless to say, Teigen was already on a clapback roll when a user named @GorgonFreeman told the star the ban was probably the « best thing » that would ever happen to her. « Congrats on peaking, » he wrote (per Mashable, who caught the tweets before they were deleted). That’s when Teigen posted a selfie from Lake Cuomo, Italy with her EGOT-winning husband, John Legend. « I have a best-selling book, great boobs, a family I love, am literally eating pasta on a lake in Italy, » she added. « And I married rich. »
According to Mashable, the clapback was so on-point that Batwoman actress Ruby Rose chimed in with, « They really are great boobs. » Teigen promptly tried to « save » Rose’s tweet for posterity, and Freeman set his account to protected. In his defense, maybe Teigen did peak. It doesn’t get much better than eating pasta on a lake in Italy, does it?
Rihanna has been work, work, working on the receipts
Few celebs are as casually caustic as Rihanna is to her haters — they call her Bad Gal RiRi for a reason! The star regularly drops one-liners and memes that are so well-placed they deserve an exhibit in the Louvre. It’s hard to choose the single clapback that outshines them all between her brief feud with Ciara, where she took shots at the singer’s level of fame, and whatever went down with Azealia Banks (because something always goes down with Azealia Banks). There was even that time Amanda Bynes went on a wildly inappropriate tweet spree, and RiRi casually subtweeted, « Ya see what happens when they cancel Intervention? »
If anything, the best Rihanna clapbacks are the ones where she says absolutely nothing while saying everything. TLC’s T-Boz and Chilli learned this the hard way after a 2013 interview with Sunrise Australia, where they allegedly singled out Rihanna for showing skin in her music videos (though, they later claimed this wasn’t the case). « Every time I see you, you don’t have to be naked, » T-Boz said. » … We became the biggest girl-selling group of all time with our clothes on … It’s easy to sell sex. »
How did Queen RiRi respond? According to Rolling Stone, with little more than changing her Twitter header to a scantily-clad photo of TLC from their heyday in the ’90s. In other words, don’t go chasing waterfalls when your girl Rihanna is chasing down a Google image search.
Tom from MySpace proved he’s a Twitter king
Tom Anderson isn’t exactly a traditional celebrity — he’s MySpace famous. In the early aughts, the MySpace co-founder forced his way into all of our Top Eights like a U2 record on an iPhone. According to MTV Australia, he’s since retired from the tech industry and shifted gears into a career as a travel photographer, but still occasionally pops up to talk about Silicon Valley’s latest happenings. In truth, you can leave the tech industry, but it never really leaves you — and that goes for the haters, too.
Since selling MySpace in 2005, Anderson has had a lot of time away from the spotlight to master the art of a devastating comeback, but he didn’t just master it. In 2012, he perfected it. It all started when he told his Twitter followers that it was « ridiculous » to worry about the change in Instagram’s terms of service. According to Mashable, who caught the tweet before it was protected, a user name Polo Tapia replied, « Says the guys [sic] that was not able to keep a social network alive. »
We all miss MySpace — RIP! — but it wasn’t being nursed on life support, at least not while it was in Anderson’s hands. Anderson passed the hot potato, won big, and isn’t afraid to admit it. « Says the guy who sold MySpace in 2005 for $580 million while you slave away hoping for a half-day off, » he snapped back. Friend request denied!
Keep your eyes open around Cher
Cher’s Twitter feed rests somewhere firmly between friending your high school classmate’s mother on Facebook and hallucinating during an acid-fueled fever dream. In short: it’s chaotic, but chaotically addicting. She’s functioning on a higher plane where all-caps and emojis take the place of legible punctuation, and reason is just a suggestion, not a rule. Some of the star’s greatest hits include, « Something is amiss with ipad » (note the double spacing), and « Whats going on with mycareer » (note the zero spacing) — but the best are her clapbacks.
Cher doesn’t just use her Twitter to drag on about the daily trappings of disco fame, like that time her iPad froze, possibly because it was overwhelmed by the touch of a « Fabulous DIVA. » She also uses it for activism, which led to the six-word comeback that basically defined her Twitter career.
In 2017, when Donald Trump ordered an end to DACA, which protected certain undocumented immigrant children from deportation, Cher urged her followers to « Take a DREAMER in2 Their Home & Protect Them !! » She planned to do the same, but one fan expressed their doubts, admitting, « I’ll believe it when I see it! » Cher had nothing else to say but, « Then keep your eyes open b**ch. » There’s no turning back time on that one.
Designers wish they could dress Bebe Rexha’s ‘fat a**’
When Bebe Rexha finally got the Grammy nomination she was working towards for years in 2019, she should’ve been excited. Instead, she was met with another disappointment. As she explained in a scathing Instagram clapback, her team reached out to a number of designers to create a custom red carpet look for the awards show, but a large swath of them refused to dress her, because she was supposedly « too big » at a size 8. Never mind the fact that, according to a study in the International Journal of Fashion Design,Technology and Education, the average American woman is between a size 16 and 18.
« If a size 6, 8 is too big, then I don’t know what to tell you, » Rexha snapped. « Then, I don’t want to wear your f**king dresses, ’cause that’s crazy … you’re saying that all the women in the world that are a size 8 and up are not beautiful and they cannot wear your dresses. »
According to USA Today, a number of designers reached out to the « I’m a Mess » singer after her Instagram clapback made headlines. This included heavyweights like Stella Nolasco, who’s dressed Beyoncé, and Christian Siriano, who stepped up for Leslie Jones when the same thing famously happened to her before the 2016 Ghostbusters premiere. Perhaps Rexha’s best clapback of all came on the red carpet, when she twirled in her scarlet Mansoori gown and proclaimed, « You wish you would’ve dressed my fat a**! »
This media outlet wasn’t very in touch with the Kunis-Kutchers
A couple months before Ashton Kutcher was put through the ringer following the release of Demi Moore’s shocking memoir, Inside Out, he was already fed up with the tabloids. Decades of fame will do that. Though the actor lives a relatively low-key lifestyle with his That ’70s Show co-star-turned-wife, Mila Kunis, he did take a brief reprieve from saving the world to feed into the drama after an In Touch Weekly report claimed he was having marital problems in June 2019.
In an Instagram video, Kutcher pretended he was just discovering that his marriage was over. Devastating, right? « Babe, what’s happening? » he asked. « It’s over between us, » Kunis replied, while showing the camera the cover of the magazine. « It’s over between us? Oh my god, what are we going to do? » Kutcher responded, to which Kunis said, « I felt suffocated … Also, I took the kids. »
Continuing to read the tabloid cover, Kunis let her hubby know that he ruined his shot when his « very dark secret » was « exposed. » Though Kunis didn’t know exactly what that secret was, the Butterfly Effect actor admitted it « must’ve been really dark » if it ruined their marriage. At the end of the video, the couple thanked the tabloid writer for her work, and we can only assume she was so embarrassed that she switched careers. Talk about a burn.
Taylor Swift, Queen of Snakes
The Taylor Swift-Kanye West feud is a tale as old as time, but it only hit a real low-point in 2016 when Kim Kardashian got involved. It all happened after Swift publicly slammed the rapper’s track, « Famous, » in which she was crudely name-dropped. Kardashian released a series of Snapchat videos that supposedly showed Swift approving the track over the phone. Years later, Swift felt vindicated by additional leaked footage, but at the time, Kimye ran with their story: Swift was a liar.
The final nail in the coffin was when Kardashian made a Twitter post for « National Snake Day. » « They have holidays for everybody, I mean everything these days, » she tweeted with a bunch of snake emojis. It spiraled to the point that, according to Vanity Fair, Swift’s Instagram account was basically a « snake pit » and the social network stepped in and banned blocks of emojis on verified accounts.
While Kardashian’s snake clapback is, indeed, a good clapback, if you support online bullying, it’s not the best clapback in this savage feud. Swift ended up coming out on top when she brought a giant inflatable snake on her Reputation Stadium Tour. « I guess the snakes [are there] to send a message to you guys that if someone uses name-calling to bully you on social media, and even if a lot of people jump on board with it, that doesn’t have to defeat you, » she admitted on stage in May 2018. « It can strengthen you instead. »
Kylie Jenner mastered the self-own
Listen, it’s not easy being the world’s youngest self-made billionaire. Sometimes, you just have to laugh at the struggle. Perhaps this is how Kylie Jenner mastered the practice of a self-own as a clapback. When it’s done well — and she has a documented history of doing it well — it’s a conversation-ending mic drop. Basically, Chrissy Teigen needs to watch out because someone’s coming for her Twitter throne.
In 2016, years before Forbes bestowed the highest honor of self-made billionaire on the youngest of Kris Jenner’s brood, Kylie put forth the clapback to end all clapbacks. When a random Twitter user claimed she looked « like a 14 year old prostitute, » she replied, « IDK I feel like I look like a 19 year old prostitute. »
This type of self-own became her patented brand of shutting down the haters. In April 2020, Jenner snapped back that she « birthed a baby » when an Instagram user said she looked « better » back in 2017. She did it a second time that year when a user told her to fix her dye job. « I know b**ch it’s been a long day, » she wrote (via E! News, who captured the comment). We must stan.
Ariana Grande will not apologize for her breakups
Ariana Grande has massively evolved from her past life as a doughnut licker. The star is a full-fledged feminist, even penning what Vanity Fair described as a « feminist manifesto » to shut down Hollywood’s double standards. Still, no clapback has ever been more poignant than when she fearlessly spoke out after a fan blamed her for Mac Miller’s substance abuse problem months before his tragic overdose.
In a May 2018 tweet, the fan claimed that « the most heartbreaking thing happening in Hollywood » was when Miller allegedly « poured his heart out on a ten song album » for Grande, but she « dumped him for another dude, » and he subsequently totaled his car and got a DUI. This hit a nerve in Grande, who admitted that dealing with Miller’s substance abuse issues was « hard » and « scary. » She was not having that criticism.
« How absurd that you minimize female self-respect and self-worth by saying someone should stay in a toxic relationship because he wrote an album about them, » Grande fired back. » … I am not a babysitter or a mother and no woman should feel that they need to be. I have cared for him and tried to support his sobriety & prayed for his balance for years … but shaming / blaming women for a man’s inability to keep his s**t together is a very major problem. » Truth!
Interesting, Diplo doesn’t remember winning that bronze medal
Poor Diplo. What did Diplo ever do to anyone? It must just be the price of being a famous person dating an even more famous person. Remember way back when Katy Perry dated Diplo for like a month in 2014? He apparently was still paying for it years later.
In the lead up to dropping her 2017 album, Witness, Katy Perry did a 72-hour livestream, during which she spoke to James Corden and ranked three of her famous exes on their performance in bed. According to Billboard, John Mayer took the top spot, Orlando Bloom was in the middle, and Diplo came in last place. Apparently, it wasn’t memorable for him either — that or he was pulling out an epic « I don’t know her » clapback a la Mariah Carey. That move always gets them in the gut.
After Perry’s rankings hit headlines, Diplo casually revealed on Twitter, « I don’t even remember having sex. » He then tweeted a photo of himself with the caption, « I won the bronze medal in the sex Olympics. » A fantastic humble brag when you leave out the fact that bronze happens to also be last place.