Social media has destroyed the filter. Before Instagram or Facebook or Twitter was the only “editor” that existed, there was someone with judgment standing between you and the publish button. More times than not, an exchange of insults like the one that took place this weekend between rapper French Montana and actress Tichina Arnold, best known as “Pam” from the hit TV series Martin, would not have made the cut. Back when we as editors understood the responsibility that comes along with publishing something to a wide audience, we chose our words and the words of our writers carefully. Today, however, it’s a free for all. And while the nature of a true artist is to speak his or her mind, they no longer have the luxury of having their thoughts regulated by an experienced publicist who knows what will and what won’t go over well. It’s a gift and a curse.
French Montana’s publicist has got to be in work mode right now. It all stems from a photo that he (re)posted to his Instagram that tried to clown Tichina Arnold. The image showed a picture of Arnold sitting on a plane with a caption above that read: “I wish Martin could see this right now. He would tear her a** up.” It was followed by emoticons of a smiley face with tears, implying laughter that evokes tears. This particular photo of Tichina was not a flattering one. She had no glam on and she actually looked rather annoyed. In her defense, I think I look the worst when I’m boarding a plane. That’s not to say she looked bad, I’ve just seen her glammed up and there’s a big difference.
Either way, posting the image with that caption was downright mean. Granted, there are a lot of mean things being said about celebrities across all social media platforms on a daily basis. The memes can get ugly. Most celebs are probably immune to it. But when it comes from another celebrity, with a massive amount of followers, it begs a response. And Tichina gave it to French.
In a lengthy response, Arnold questioned French’s relevance, asking who he was and what he actually does. She called him out and questioned his purpose.
“Maybe you should put more effort into aligning yourself with people who can ASSIST you with building your brand for longevity,” she wrote.
It was a very grown woman type of dig, but a dig, nonetheless. She later mentioned her charitable organization and conveniently suggested that French should contribute instead of dropping $40k on a basketball bet. Her response made the Bad Boy rapper, who happens to be dating Khloe Kardashian, seem extremely shallow.
After a day’s worth of headlines saying Tichina had ripped French a new one, the rapper responded, accusing Arnold of plugging her charity (again, it’s charity, a plug is excused).
“I didn’t make this picture. I just reposted it like a million other people,” he posted. “Don’t use me to plug your charity I use to be a fan Pam. I was shocked to see this pic I am not disrespecting you stay blessed.”
French did not take responsibility or apologize for his joke. He lumped himself in with a “million” other people, as if that justified his behavior. Then, he said he “used to be a fan,” (and called her “Pam,” smh) admitting that her response had changed him. Whatever happened to a good ol’ fashioned apology?
Yes, it was only a joke on social media. But still, the same way Instagram gave him the right to post (or repost) the photo, she has the right to respond any way she likes. And in this case, it doesn’t seem that Instagram is a liar.