With the surprise release earlier this month of the breakup smash “Thank U, Next,” Ariana Grande introduced a three-word phrase perfect for swatting away any person, place, or thing that dares attempt to control or limit her. On Wednesday, amid teasing the upcoming rom-com-themed music video for the song, Grande paused to turn those powerful words on Piers Morgan, who’d evidently decided to spend the day focusing his signature sexism on the British girl group Little Mix—likely spurred by Little Mix member Jesy Nelson’s calling him a “silly twat” on BBC Radio 1 earlier this week, in response to his previous misogynistic comments about the group.
Grande’s mom, Joan, was actually the first member of the family to call out Morgan on Twitter. After the talk show host accused Little Mix of copying the imagery for their new song “Strip”—showing the four band members with insults and slurs written on their naked bodies—from the Dixie Chicks’s May 2003 Entertainment Weekly cover, Joan tweeted, “Honestly what is wrong with you @piersmorgan ? Didn’t your mother ever teach you, if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it!” She went on to defend the photo and reference the fight Morgan had started only the day before with Ellen DeGeneres. “You came for @TheEllenShow yesterday which was disgraceful, she is an angel. @LittleMix today, did you ever hear of paying homage?” she wrote. In a follow-up tweet, Joan suggested to her followers that they all focus on gratitude and positivity, adding, “Thank you for what 2018 has taught me and most importantly #ThankUNext!”
Morgan, of course, couldn’t resist firing back at Joan, reiterating his claim that DeGeneres is “a hypocrite” and saying of Little Mix, “I’d just prefer they use their talent to sell records rather than their nudity.”
At this point, Grande chimed in, tweeting, “I use my talent AND my sexuality all the time because i choose to. women can be sexual AND talented. naked and dignified. it’s OUR choice. 🖤 & we will keep fighting til people understand. i say this w all due respect but thank u, next.” She continued, “i look forward to the day you realize there are other ways to go about making yourself relevant than to criticize young, beautiful, successful women for everything they do. i think that’ll be a beautiful thing for you and your career or what’s left of it,” which belongs in some sort of Twitter clap-back hall of fame.
The pop star then proceeded to point out that, ironically enough, Morgan, who loves to call other people “hypocrites,” had actually used his own near-nudity (courtesy of a confusing Burger King ad) just this week to entice readers to his latest column. “When u do it it’s ok tho right?” she wrote alongside that post, then sent out a few rapid-fire tweets reading, “Anyway. What else is new. Thank u fuckin next.”
Grande then moved on to bigger and better things, chatting excitedly with her fans about the upcoming music video and revealing the final film she’ll be paying tribute to in the clip (Bring It On), while Morgan spent the next several hours sharing articles about the clash, bragging about his name trending on Twitter, retweeting anyone who agreed with him, and attempting to drag other famous women he’s insulted in the past, including Kim Kardashian West, Emily Ratajkowski, and Chrissy Teigen, into the argument as well. (Obviously, none of them took his desperate bait.)
While Joan later revealed in a tweet that she hadn’t called in for backup—and, in fact, didn’t even realize Ari had jumped into the fray—she added that she was proud of her daughter for taking a stand. “I was so caught up in my own little twitterverse that I missed my genius daughter @ArianaGrande actually handling the situation… hahaha I am a proud mother who raised a magnificent, beautiful, talented FEMINIST daughter!!” she tweeted.