I genuinely believe that 63% of celebrity beefs are manufactured to garner publicity for each party. Publicity breeds relevance and relevance spawns celebrity. If you disagree with the phrase ‘any publicity is good publicity’ answer me how Steven Avery got a girlfriend while rocking JNCOs, a terrible haircut, and oh ya, a life prison sentence. Wiz Khalifa beefs with Kanye the week his album drops? Convenient. Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj trading shade for clicks at the VMAs? I haven’t witnessed anything faker since the last girl I had sex with told me she orgasmed.
But every now and then a truly venomous vendetta is made public that defies the trivial realm of public theater. And that can be perfectly defined by the beef between Alec Baldwin and TMZ founder Harvey Levin.
A little historical context for you: Back in 2007, TMZ exclusively published a voicemail between Baldwin and his then 11-year-old daughter Ireland titled “Alec Baldwin’s Threatening Message to Daughter,” in which he calls her a thoughtless little pig” and rips into her mother Kim Basinger. It was an ugly and widely public portrayal of Baldwin.
In a recent New Yorker piece that investigated how the celebrity gossip site so often obtains the information celebrities wish to keep private, Baldwin verbally dismantles Levin for making his private affairs public.
“There was a time when my greatest wish was to stab Harvey Levin with a rusty implement and watch his entrails go running down my forearm, in some Macbethian stance. I wanted him to die in my arms, while looking into my eyes, and I wanted to say to him, ‘Oh, Harvey, you thoughtless little pig.’ ”
“[Levin] is a festering boil on the anus of American media.”
I haven’t heard a verbal assault like that since, well, Alec Baldwin.