7 of the biggest celebrity feuds of 2019

Click to play video: 'Scooter Braun speaks out about comments by Taylor Swift about him and company'
Scooter Braun speaks out about comments by Taylor Swift about him and company
WATCH: Scooter Braun spoke out about the ongoing issues between him and his company and Taylor Swift, following various comments made by the singer – Nov 22, 2019

Celebrity feuds used to be reserved for behind closed doors, and if things ever leaked to the public, it couldn’t be proven definitively outside of a publicist confirmation or video footage.

Social media, however, has completely changed the game, and celebrities aren’t waiting for their publicists to approve their next tweet.

Now, all it takes is an ill-advised 280-character tweet or an open letter posted to Facebook to spark a celebrity feud, and 2019 served up some major drama.

From brother-and-brother fights between Aaron Carter and Nick Carter to hip-hop beef with Eminem and Nick Cannon, not to mention family feuds between Jordyn Woods and The Kardashians, some of the biggest celebs took each other on in highly-publicized battles throughout the year.

READ MORE: Nick Carter granted 1-year restraining order against brother Aaron

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Here’s a closer look at seven of the biggest celebrity feuds of the year.

1. Jordyn Woods and Khloe Kardashian (and the rest of the family)

(L-R): Jordyn Woods and Khloé Kardashian (Getty Images). Getty Images

The feud between these two began in February 2019 after Tristan Thompson cheated on the Khloe Kardashian with her sister Kylie Jenner’s former best friend, Jordyn Woods.

Woods and Thompson were spotted at a party “making out” and the 22-year-old model reportedly didn’t leave the NBA player’s house until 7 a.m.

Khloe’s best friend Malika Haqq, Khloe and Larsa Pippen all commented on a post about the situation.

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Kylie was caught in the middle of the feud because Woods was her best friend and lived at her house during the time.

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Woods ended up moving out of Kylie’s house and the two ended their friendship. Kylie has not been seen with Woods in public since the cheating scandal was revealed.

Kim joined the conversation on Twitter when a fan claimed the cheating drama was fake because Khloe went to an event the day after the news spread.

“Would you prefer she lose the [money] too? A single mom has to work too boo! This was a professional commitment planned far in advance and you better believe she is not waiting on anyone to pay her bills or provide for her daughter. PERDIODT!!!” Kim tweeted.
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She also posted a video of herself and Malika singing Nivea’s Don’t Mess With My Man.

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During an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Khloe said: “There was nothing else he could do but confirm it.”

“He answered my questions and I got more details — that everybody left the party and Jordyn stayed, that she was sitting on his lap, they were all over each other, they were handsy, they made out. It’s disgusting. I’ll never understand the depths of his … ugh. I was just hoping for a better outcome for my daughter and myself.”

Woods gave her own interview on Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk series, talking about the situation in her own words.

“I was drunk. I was not tipsy. I was drunk, but I was not beyond the point of recollection. I know where I was. But on the way out, he did kiss me,” Woods said.

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“No passion — no nothing — on the way out. He just kissed me. It was a kiss on the lips, but no tongue-kiss, no making out. Nothing. And I don’t think he’s wrong, either, because I allowed myself in that position. And when alcohol’s involved, people make dumb moves or people get caught up in the moment.”

After Woods’ appearance on Red Table Talk, Khloe took to Twitter to accuse the model of lying.

“Why are you lying Jordyn Woods? If you’re going to try and save yourself by going public, INSTEAD OF CALLING ME PRIVATELY TO APOLOGIZE FIRST, at least be HONEST about your story. BTW, You ARE the reason my family broke up!” Khloe wrote.

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Ten months after the feud began, the 35-year-old reality star wrote a lengthy statement on Instagram saying she “doesn’t hold any negative or hateful feelings towards ANYONE!”

READ MORE: 11 of the biggest celebrity break-ups of 2019

“Yes, I’m allowed to feel hurt and pain. It would be unnatural for me to pretend as if I don’t,” she wrote. “Personally, I don’t want to be carrying around a hateful heart. I crave peace in my life. Me holding onto hate is only going to hurt me in the end.”

In a follow-up post, Khloe said “That message is for Jordyn.”

“This message applies to ALL parties involved in situations that have ever hurt me. Men, friends, family, work associates… anyone who played a role in my pain,” she wrote.

“I have moved on, found forgiveness and wish you only happiness and joy!”

Shortly thereafter, Wood posted a message on her own Instagram story.

“Someone somewhere is still discussing the old you because they don’t have access to the new you,”  her message read. Woods added the word, “Facts.”

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7 of the biggest celebrity feuds of 2019 - image

2. Taylor Swift and Scooter Braun

(L-R): Taylor Swift and Scooter Braun (Photos by Richard Shotwell/Mark Von Holden/Invision/AP). Richard Shotwell/Mark Von Holden/Invision/AP

Taylor Swift and Scooter Braun have been going back and forth since June 2019, but it escalated in August when she revealed plans to re-record her songs after her catalogue was purchased by the popular music manager.

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In late June, Braun’s Ithaca Holdings announced that it had acquired Big Machine Label Group, which was led by Scott Borchetta and home to Swift’s first six albums, including the Grammy winners for album of the year, 2008′s Fearless and 2014′s 1989.

Swift said she was sad and grossed out that her music catalogue now belongs to Braun, who she accuses of subjecting her to years of incessant and manipulative bullying.

Swift said she had planned to play a medley of her hits when she was named Artist of the Decade at the American Music Awards (AMAs) on Nov. 24, but she wrote in an Instagram post that the men who own the music, Braun and Borchetta, are calling the television performance an illegal re-recording.

“Right now my performance at the AMAs, the Netflix documentary and any other recorded events I am planning to play until November 2020 are a question mark,” Swift said on Twitter and Instagram.

The Big Machine Label Group said in a statement that “at no point did we say Taylor could not perform on the AMAs or block her Netflix special. In fact, we do not have the right to keep her from performing live anywhere.”

Swift said in the posts that Borchetta has told her he will allow the projects to go forward if she drops plans to record copycat versions of her older songs next year — which Swift said she plans to do and adds has the legal right to — and if she stops her public trashing of the two men.

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Her post ignited social media, with the hashtags #IStandWithTaylor and #FreeTaylor trending heavily on Twitter.

Click to play video: 'Taylor Swift ‘not allowed’ to perform her own songs'
Taylor Swift ‘not allowed’ to perform her own songs

In November, Braun broke his silence on Swift’s comments about him and his company, the Big Machine Label Group.

READ MORE: Scooter Braun breaks silence on Taylor Swift feud

During a Q&A at The Hollywood Chamber’s 2019 Entertainment Industry Conference, Braun said he hasn’t “talked about this in six months, not once… and that’s hard.”

“When there’s a lot of things being said and a lot of different opinions, yet the principals haven’t had a chance to speak to each other, there’s a lot of confusion,” said Braun, who never mentioned the Bad Blood singer by name.

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“I’m not going to go into details here, because it’s just not my style.”

He added that he believes “we live in a time of toxic division, and of people thinking that social media is the appropriate place to air out on each other and not have conversations.”

Click to play video: 'Scooter Braun speaks out about comments by Taylor Swift about him and company'
Scooter Braun speaks out about comments by Taylor Swift about him and company

Braun suggested the solution would be that “people need to communicate, and when people are able to communicate, I think they work things out.”

“And I think a lot of times things are miscommunications, because I believe that people are fundamentally good,” he said.

Braun also took to social media to reveal that his family has received death threats from Swift’s loyal fan base.

“Since your public statement last week there have been numerous death threats directed at my family,” Braun wrote. “This morning I spoke out publicly for the first time saying I wouldn’t participate in a social media war.”

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“However I came home tonight to find my wife had received a phone call threatening the safety of our children as well as other threats seen above,” he added.

“I won’t go in to the details of this past week. I have been at a loss.”

Braun continued: “I assume this was not your intention but it is important that you understand that your words carry a tremendous amount of weight and that your message can be interpreted by some in different ways. While disappointed that you have remained silent after being notified by your attorney 4 days ago of these ongoing threats, I’m still hopeful we can fix this.”

He said that he was “shocked and disheartened to hear that my presence in the Big Machine deal caused you so much pain as the handful of times we have actually met I have always remembered them to be pleasant and respectful.”

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In December, Swift earned the highly prestigious honour thanks to her many accomplishments, releases, dedication and overall contributions to the music industry as a powerful female figure at the ‘Woman of the Decade’ award at Billboard‘s annual Women in Music ceremony.

She used her time in the spotlight and successfully captivated her primarily female audience with a moving, 15-minute speech, detailing some of her struggles over the last decade as a female artist and ultimately what she believes is wrong in the industry — which she said is ruled by “toxic male privilege.”

Swift offered famed music entrepreneur Braun as her primary example to back up that claim. He is someone the pop icon has accused of bullying on several occasions.

She described the 38-year-old as the definition of “toxic male privilege” in the music industry.

READ MORE: Taylor Swift calls out Scooter Braun, talks ‘toxic male privilege’ in music industry

In the contentious speech, Swift spoke about the investors that funded Braun’s purchase, claiming, “to this day, none of [them] have bothered to contact me or my team directly to perform their due diligence on their investment… in me.”

“To ask how I might feel about the new owner of my art,” she added. “The music I wrote. The videos I created. Photos of me, my handwriting, my album designs.”

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“Scooter never contacted me or my team to discuss it prior to the sale or even when it was announced,” claimed Swift. “I’m fairly certain he knew how I would feel about it, though.”

“Let me just say that the definition of the toxic male privilege in our industry is people saying, ‘Well, he’s always been nice to me’ when I’m raising valid concerns about artists and their rights to own their music.”

“Of course he’s nice to you,” said Swift, “If you’re in this room you have something that he needs.”

3. Tati Westbrook and James Charles

(L-R:) Blogger Tati Westbrook and James Charles  (Photo by Getty Images).

The drama between beauty YouTubers James Charles and Tati Westbrook began on April 22 when Charles posted to his Instagram Story promoting Sugar Bear Hair Care vitamins, which is a competitor to Westbrook’s hair supplement company, Halo Beauty.

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Westbrook released a 43-minute video about her feelings towards James Charles’ actions in a video titled, Bye Sister.

Westbrook said that Charles had been lying about the reasons behind sponsored posts on Instagram.

The title of the video is a play on Charles’ YouTube video intro and catchphrase, “Hi Sisters.” He also refers to his fans as the Sisterhood.

“This is going to be intense, different and this is absolutely not a video I ever thought in a million years that I would be making,” she began in the video.

“But I feel, after a lot of thought, that it’s necessary for me to have a chat with you guys.”

READ MORE: Who is YouTuber James Charles, and why has he lost millions of subscribers over 3 days?

Westbrook went on to explain that she has always supported Charles without wanting something in return.

“My relationship with James Charles is not transactional. I have not asked him for a penny, I have never been on his Instagram,” she said.

Westbrook did claim to have arranged brand deals, contracts and other opportunities for the 20-year-old makeup guru because she wants “to see people grow and step into themselves.”

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Westbrook said that she was cutting ties with Charles because she believes he is ungrateful and he is not willing to help others.

“How entitled do you have to be to think that you have it rough? You are a 19-year-old millionaire. You do not get to wake up and stress out about how unfair your job is. That is so ridiculous to me,” she said.

She continued: “Get off your high horse and have some respect. You don’t have any for the people who are in this industry and that’s the sad fact.”

Westbrook went on to say that she felt that Charles should try to be a better role model for his audience which is “made up of 12- and 14-year-olds dominantly.”

“His behaviour online is what they are seeing and emulating to be successful and adored by the masses. Everything is oversexualized, and that’s the huge underlayer to this that I’ve finally have had enough,” she said.

She accused Charles of spreading lies about her and telling YouTube gossip bloggers false information.

Westbrook also referred to multiple examples of Charles, who is gay, exhibiting “inappropriate” behaviour towards straight men.

She brought up a comment he made about wanting to hook up with a straight waiter at a restaurant, ignoring his sexual orientation.

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CNN reported that Charles had lost around two million followers during the first few days after Westbrook posted the video.

James, who has referred to Westbrook as his mentor, later apologized to Westbrook in a tearful Instagram video.

“I want to publicly apologize to my close friend, Tati,” Charles said. “She has been like a mother to me since my first days in this industry and has given me more love, support, resources and advice than I could ever ask for.”

He continued: “This weekend, I did an Instagram story for sleep vitamins that I’ve been taking because the brand helped me with security when the crowd around me at Coachella became unsafe. I did not accept any money from this post.”

READ MORE: Tati Westbrook calls for ‘abuse’ against James Charles to stop, says she’s taking a YouTube break

Charles also responded to Westbrook in an eight-minute video.

“To Tati and James Westbrook, I’m sorry for everything that is going on, everything that I’ve put you through over the past few weeks,” Charles said.

“I hate knowing that I disappointed not only [my fans], but two people that have been role models for me doing this,” he said looking into the camera.
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“What sucks the most is that I know there’s nothing I can say or do to ever earn that friendship or trust back but I don’t blame them for it,” Charles added. “A lot of the time when I’ve had to address things in the past, I’ve acted out of impulse and I’ve gone off and tried to pull receipts or facts or screenshots and play the victim and I’m not doing that today, I’m not. That is all I have to say, I’m sorry.”

In another video, Why I Did It, Westbrook discussed her perspective on the drama between her and Charles and why she never thought the drama between them would reach “this magnitude.”

Westbrook told her followers to stop picking sides.

“I do, really, want the hate to stop. I want the picking sides, and the abusive memes and language, I really hope on both sides, it can stop,” she said.

“I don’t want you guys to subscribe, I don’t want you to feel bad for me. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. This is not about me. I don’t need ‘Team Tati.’ I don’t need any of that.”

Westbrook also said that if she really wanted Charles to be “cancelled,” she could have said “yes” to the interview offers she was receiving from many different networks following the feud going public.

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She explained to her followers that her original video about Charles was her “last ditch effort to be really loud and vocal” to “wake up someone that I really love — and still do — before they go and make some serious mistakes.”

She said that she tried to set up a meeting to clear the air with Charles at a Google office but she is “losing the ability to reach” him.

She said that Charles had “zero respect” for their friendship and she is not hopeful that one day they can mend their bridges.

“I don’t hate James Charles. I don’t want you guys hating on him… It’s painful to watch someone that you have cared for be dragged and to know that this started because of me. I don’t think anyone deserves that.

“I think people deserve a wake-up call and people deserve to be called out for actions. I think someone’s got to do it. I hope that this inspires parents to have more conversations with their kids, because we are losing that.”

4. Ariana Grande and The Grammys

Singer Ariana Grande arrives at The 58th GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 15, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic).

Ariana Grande refused a slot at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards as a result of a disagreement between the singer and the event’s producers.

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Longtime Grammy producer, Ken Ehrlich, spoke to The Associated Press regarding the matter. He claimed his team “felt it was too late for [Grande] to pull something together.”

Grande quickly fired back at his comments over Twitter, claiming Ehrlich was actually lying.

“I can pull together a performance over night and you know that, Ken,” she wrote.

“It was when my creativity and self expression was stifled by you, that I decided not to attend.”

READ MORE: Ariana Grande clashes with Grammys producer over cancelled appearance

The Bang Bang singer was reportedly taken aback after the producers wouldn’t allow her to perform one of the songs from her album, Thank U, Next — which dropped on Feb. 8.

Click to play video: 'Ariana Grande will not be attending this year’s Grammy’s'
Ariana Grande will not be attending this year’s Grammy’s

Her hit 7 Rings, was reportedly one of her three choices.

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When Grande refused their offer, the producers allegedly said she could only play a portion of the songs as part of a “medley,” as long as they could choose the other songs. It was at that point the singer declined the spot altogether.

The singer claimed she “offered three different songs” to the producers.

“It’s about collaboration [and] feeling supported,” she wrote. “It’s about art and honesty, not politics, not doing favours or playing games.”

“Hope that helps everyone understand my decision,” she added. “I am still grateful for the acknowledgement this year.”

Despite opting out of the Grammy Awards, Grande paid close attention to the four-and-a-half-hour ceremony.

Late rapper Mac Miller — who was Grande’s ex-boyfriend — was also honoured at the Grammys this year. His final studio album, Swimming (2018) was nominated under the ‘Best Rap Album’ category.

READ MORE: Ariana Grande lashes out over Mac Miller loss at Grammys: ‘literal bulls**t’

Cardi B, however, took home the trophy. Her smash-hit debut album Invasion of Privacy won her a first-ever Grammy Award, out of six nominations overall.

Grande made it clear she believed Miller was snubbed; immediately taking to Twitter with a series of rage-fueled tweets.

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“F**k,” Grande wrote, in one of many since-deleted posts. “Literal bulls**t.” “Trash.”

Grande added that she was upset with the Recording Academy for inviting Miller’s parents only to have their son lose the award. It was seen as a disrespectful act.

“Y’all invited Mac’s parents out and you didn’t give him an award?” asked a  Twitter user. “Are y’all dumb?” they added towards the Grammy’s producers.

The Imagine singer addressed this tweet and replied, “This is what I meant. Karen was gonna have a green suit made.”

5. Aaron Carter and Nick Carter

Nick (left) and Aaron Carter. John Sciulli/WireImage for YMI JEANSWEAR INTERNATIONAL

Nick Carter was granted a one-year restraining order against his brother, Aaron Carter, in November.

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A judge extended a restraining order requested by Nick and Aaron’s twin sister, Angel, at a hearing in Los Angeles.

The court order prohibits Aaron from coming in contact with Angel or Nick and their families for one year.

READ MORE: Nick Carter granted 1-year restraining order against brother Aaron

Nick and Angel were granted a temporary restraining order against Aaron in September.

Backstreet Boy singer Nick took to Twitter to post a statement at the time, explaining the legal action came “in light of Aaron’s increasingly alarming behaviour.”

“After careful consideration, my sister Angel and I regret that we were required to seek a restraining order against our brother Aaron today,” Nick wrote.

“In light of Aaron’s increasingly alarming behaviour and his recent confession that he harbours thoughts and intentions of killing my pregnant wife and unborn child, we were left with no choice but to take every measure possible to protect ourselves and our family.

“We love our brother and truly hope he gets the proper treatment he needs before any harm comes to himself or anyone else,” concluded the statement, which was posted with the hashtags #MentalHealth, #GunControlNow and #GunControl.

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Nick Carter / Twitter
Nick Carter / Twitter.

Aaron denied the allegations against him in September, tweeting: “I am astounded at the accusations being made against me and I do not wish harm to anyone, especially my family.”

The I Want Candy singer posted a video from his family’s 2006 reality show House of Carters, which ran for one season.

“LEAVE ME ALONE. FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. IM BEGGING YOU. PLEASE. I haven’t even seen you guys and nick you bullied me my whole life. And tortured me as a child. And everyone knows it. ITS BEEN PUBLIC. and now you’re scared of the truth,” Aaron wrote, attaching a clip that shows him and his brother getting into a physical altercation.

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In November, Aaron said he was “devastated by what happened in court today.”

“My sister lied over and over in an effort take away my 2nd amendment rights and she did it on behalf of my brother to silence me talking about how he raped and sexually assaulted multiple women,” Aaron wrote on Instagram.

He added: “I will abide by the judge’s order, but I will not stop speaking on behalf of victims such as Melissa Schuman. I am saddened by my family and what they have done to me. Your lies have broken my heart.”

Aaron Carter / Instagram.
Aaron posted a photo with Schuman on Instagram, captioning it: “Yes!!! No more fake Halo’s for a year. #NoAngelo TRO [Temporary Restraining Order] IN PLACE FOR 1 more year!! @themelissaschuman.”
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The day after Nick was granted the restraining order, Carter tweeted: “Duped my bro gave him a sleepless night thinking he would have to face his accuser Melissa. My legal team and I was thrilled I don’t have to talk to them for a year.”

Schuman, a former member of girl group Dream, accused Nick of sexual assault in November 2017.

In August 2018, Schuman wrote a detailed blog post in which she recounted the alleged incident, claiming Nick raped her in his Santa Monica apartment in 2002 when she was 18 and he was 22.

READ MORE: Nick Carter gets restraining order against brother Aaron over alleged threats

6. Eminem and Nick Cannon

(L-R) Eminem and Nick Cannon. CP Images Archive

Once again, Eminem, also known as Marshall Mathers, reignited an old feud — this time with entertainer Nick Cannon.

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While featuring on a song from the recently-released Family Ties album by Fat Joe and Dre, 47-year-old Eminem made it clear he’s held onto the decade-long beef between him and Cannon.

Though their bickering stopped for nine years, the new track Lord Above suggests Eminem isn’t finished with the former Nickelodeon host.

READ MORE: Eminem vs. Nick Cannon: A feud 10 years in the making

In the span of only four days, it seemed things had picked up right where they left off in the 10-year feud. In response to Lord Above, Cannon, 39,  came back at Eminem with two of his own diss tracks, The Invitation and Pray for Him.

During an appearance on American rapper T.I.‘s podcast, ExpidiTIously, Cannon was asked about the history of the feud and what had happened

“I think we were flying back on a jet from Africa, and [Eminem] drops a song,” a song that allegedly used abusive language against Carey.
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“I’m like, ‘This is my wife. This is my new wife,’” Cannon said.

“So I wrote this letter pretty much saying: ‘Look, I respect you as an artist. I’m actually a fan and I think you’re one of the best to ever do it… But from man to man, you’re talking out of pocket to my wife. You gotta be held accountable for that so I need to see you face to face.’”

Cannon later claimed Eminem apologized to him after releasing Bagpipes from Baghdad. The former TV host added that his own diss tracks were just to “have some fun with it” and that he still respects Eminem and considers him one of his “top five” rappers.

Fast-forward to earlier this month, and Eminem is featured on the single Lord Above alongside Mary J. Blige.

Yet again, the musician rapped about his alleged history with Carey, later referring to Cannon in expletive-laden lyrics which challenged his masculinity.

Cannon responded to Eminem on Instagram the following day, mocking his career.

@FatJoe album is star-studded,” he wrote. “He even did some charity work and dug @Eminem out his grave… I mean cave.”

Cannon then came back at Eminem with The Invitation, a heavily-autotuned retaliation track that features vocals from Marion “Suge” Knight, who is currently serving a 28-year prison sentence.

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In the song, Cannon references Eminem’s history of drug abuse and even calls out his family, including daughter Hailie Mathers.

Only a few hours later, Eminem responded to Cannon in a couple of Twitter posts.

Along with a clown emoji, the first tweet read: “U mad bro? Stop lying… I never even had a chauffeur…” The tweet references a line in The Invitation that alleges Eminem’s chauffeur saw him engaging in sexual activity with another man.

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Before even giving Eminem a chance to come back with a diss track, Cannon recruited artists Charlie Clips, Hitman Holla, Conceited and Prince Eazy to help him record Pray For Him, the most recent diss track in the long-winded feud.

Each of the rappers takes a turn between verses and an interlude. In the final verse, however, Cannon goes off on Eminem one more time, claiming that despite his songs condemning U.S. President Donald Trump, he secretly supports him.

Cannon dropped another diss track titled, Cancelled: Invitation on Dec. 19, in which Cannon refers to Eminem as a racist and says he won’t forgive him.

7. Gabrielle Union and Simon Cowell

(L-R): Simon Cowell and Gabrielle Union. Getty Images

Following Variety’s report alleging there was a “toxic culture” on the set of America’s Got Talent (AGT), another report was published and revealed more details about Gabrielle Union‘s exit from the show.

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According to the report by Vulture, Union was “perceived as ‘difficult’ by Simon Cowell and his team of producers” after voicing concerns about “perceived racist incidents, Cowell’s habit of smoking indoors, and attempts to keep the show from misgendering contestants.”

Click to play video: 'Gabrielle Union Thanks Supporters Amid ‘AGT’ Controversy'
Gabrielle Union Thanks Supporters Amid ‘AGT’ Controversy

Cowell, a judge and executive producer of AGT, and Union clashed due to her concerns about his smoking inside the theatre where the show filmed, according to Vulture’s sources. It’s against the law in California for an employer to allow smoking in a workplace.

READ MORE: Simon Cowell’s smoking caused clash with Gabrielle Union on ‘America’s Got Talent’: report

“The theatre didn’t have walls between dressing rooms, so they were separated by pipes and draped fabric, and cigarette smoke seeped into Union’s dressing area,” the report stated.

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“Union, who is allergic to cigarette smoke, was repeatedly rebuffed when she asked other staff members to request that Cowell stop smoking inside.”

Union was reportedly told by an NBC executive and production staff on AGT that “no one could stop Cowell from smoking and that previous attempts by a fire marshal and NBC executives had been unsuccessful.”

According to the report, Cowell has “smoked indoors for years, much to the frustration of staff, crew, and talent. NBC has given Cowell near-total control over America’s Got Talent. Virtually no decisions are made by the network on the show without his approval, according to three well-placed sources.”

Variety’s report claimed that Union had expressed concerns over racially-insensitive situations during her time on the show, including a joke made by guest judge Jay Leno in April of this year that was later edited out of the show.

According to Variety, Leno made a joke about a painting on the wall that featured judge Cowell surrounded by his dogs.

Sources told the outlet that Leno allegedly made a joke that the dogs looked like something one would find “on the menu at a Korean restaurant.”

Multiple people on set were upset by the joke, Variety reports, and Union reportedly urged producers to report the joke to the human resources department.

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Click to play video: 'New report says Simon Cowell’s smoking among reasons for clash with Gabrielle Union on ‘AGT’'
New report says Simon Cowell’s smoking among reasons for clash with Gabrielle Union on ‘AGT’

The article also claimed that Union expressed concerns over an incident during auditions in which she believed a white male performer crossed a line in portraying people of colour.

“In one such quick change, the contestant emerged in the guise of Beyoncé Knowles. His hands appeared as black, meant to be a character accent, three witnesses to the audition said,” the report read.

Vulture’s report said that Union “also earned the reputation of being difficult because she asked contestants dressed in drag what their preferred pronouns were, a move that seemed to annoy producers.”

Tensions reportedly built up between Cowell and Union during a production meeting where the Bring It On actress supported a 10-year-old Black rapper named Dylan Gilmer.

Union was reportedly told to support an act “that America can get behind” instead. A source close to production of AGT denied producers told Union that, and said that producers would never use that type of language.

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The report stated that Union left the room and went outside and when she returned within five minutes she found Cowell “furious that she had left.”

READ MORE: Gabrielle Union’s ‘America’s Got Talent’ exit now under investigation by SAG-AFTRA

In a joint statement, NBC and production company Fremantle said that AGT has a “history of inclusivity.”

America’s Got Talent has a long history of inclusivity and diversity in both our talent and the acts championed by the show,” NBC and Fremantle said.

“The judging and host line-up has been regularly refreshed over the years and that is one of the reasons for AGT’s enduring popularity. NBC and the producers take any issues on set seriously.”

Howard Stern spoke out against Cowell following Union’s exit from AGT.

During his SiriusXM show, Stern, a former AGT judge, accused Cowell of having “orchestrated” Union’s departure from the show.

“How is it that Simon Cowell has orchestrated this?” the radio personality said. “He sets it up that the men stay, no matter how ugly they are, no matter how old they are, no matter how fat they are, no matter how talentless they are.

“But what he manages to do on all his shows is he constantly replaces the hot chicks with hotter chicks and younger chicks, which is obvious.

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“[Howie Mandel is] doing a fine, serviceable job — why don’t they change him? And why don’t they change Simon? … This is the ultimate example of a boys’ club.”

Stern was a judge on AGT for four seasons before leaving in 2015. Mandel, who joined the show in 2010 for Season 5, is currently the longest-serving judge.

It’s going to be hard to predict what type of drama will get stirred up in 2020.

—With files from The Associated Press and Adam Wallis

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