Who Trolled Us Best: Azealia Banks, Gene Simmons or Yacht?


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From left, Azealia Banks; Gene Simmons of KISS; and Claire Evans, left, and Jona Bechtolt of the band Yacht.

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From left, Taylor Hill/Getty Images; Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images for Race To Erase MS; Amanda Edwards/WireImage, via Getty Images

It was a great week for musicians who trolled us all into giving them some intense social media attention. We’d rather not write about these stunts, but it’s worth noting how easily entertainers can manipulate an audience by getting them angry enough to start talking.

Let’s assess the non-damage:

Azealia Banks Trolled Her Way to a Twitter Suspension

The Harlem-born rapper’s musical talents are often overshadowed by her tendency to confront adversaries on Twitter with graphic, homophobic or racially charged language.

But it’s pretty hard to get kicked off Twitter. People have to go well beyond garden-variety hate speech to be suspended, a problem that Twitter executives have acknowledged but not yet solved.

So what got Ms. Banks ejected? Twitter doesn’t comment on individual cases, but it appears that Ms. Banks’s account was suspended shortly after she called the singer Zayn Malik, who is of Pakistani descent, a “curry scented” expletive, among other insults. She also began attacking Skai Jackson, a 14-year-old actress. So maybe that’s where the line is.

The people of Twitter came together briefly to celebrate her suspension: #AzealiaGotSuspendedParty quickly trended on Twitter.

Career damage: Ms. Banks has lost at least one gig when she was dropped from the lineup of a music festival in London post-outburst, Pitchfork reported, but she has never been more notorious than she is right now.

Gene Simmons Criticized Prince’s Death

Gene Simmons, who once was best known as the long-tongued guitarist from Kiss and not as a helmet-haired reality star who says inappropriate things to journalists, earned swift backlash after criticizing Prince’s reported issues with addiction.

“Bowie was the most tragic of all because it was real sickness,” Mr. Simmons said to Newsweek. Mr. Simmons, who has said he never drinks or smokes, called Prince’s addiction pathetic: “His drugs killed him. What do you think, he died from a cold?”

The Internet does not take kindly to people who harbor critical thoughts about music legends. Mr. Simmons later apologized, but it wasn’t enough to stop the harsh backlash from observers on Twitter, including a rebuke from a bandmate, Paul Stanley, who called his comments “clueless.”

Career damage: Eh. This is the same guy who told the “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross during an interview that she’d have to “stand in line” to have sex with him. Because Kiss apparently refuses to retire, this will probably help him sell concert tickets.

Yacht (Who?) Unleashed a Sex Tape Hoax

Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans, better known as the pop duo Yacht, said on Monday that their private sex tape had been leaked. They then claimed that they were selling the tape for $5 to reclaim control over the footage.

“This is our private life,” Mr. Bechtolt wrote. “And no one should have governance over what people do consensually in their private lives.”

Many victims of so-called sextortion could relate to the privacy violation, and the duo garnered some sympathy — until Jezebel reported that it had all been a publicity stunt.

Yacht said in apology, “We know we’ve broken a bond of trust with many of our fans and friends”

Career damage: Well, now more people know what Yacht is, but they associate the name with “those jerks who faked a sex tape” and not with the “dance-pop band from Portland.” But who cares? This is America. Careers have been launched over less.

The winner: This round goes to Ms. Banks, for trolling that gets results!

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