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Meow! Insults, catfights and Twitter: the top feuds of 2011

Family tension getting to you today? Don’t panic – it could be worse. Check out all these catty moments from 2011…

Maybe it was because of the recession making people that bit more irritable, but 2011 was a big year for fights.

1. Eamon Dunphy and Denis O’Brien

As spats go, the one between broadcaster Eamon Dunphy and billionaire mogul Denis O’Brien was rather epic.

It had it all: firings (Sam Smyth from Today FM), dramatic resignations (Dunphy), veiled threats, insults and accusations.

Dunphy left his Sunday morning talk show on Newstalk in early November, saying that the station was “inhospitable” for journalists – and that Newstalk owner Denis O’Brien ‘hates journalism’.

In an unusual move, media mogul O’Brien took to the pages of the Irish Times to defend himself and hit back at Dunphy, describing the allegations as ‘malicious’. O’Brien, who owns a significant stake in a number of radio stations in Ireland as well as part of Independent News & Media, criticised journalism in Ireland for its “nastiness and cynicism”.

Dunphy hasn’t (yet) hit back at O’Brien – but this one isn’t over yet. Let’s see what happens next. You can see a full Twitter timeline of what happened here.

2. Conor Lenihan and Vincent Browne


The general election campaign hadn’t even kicked off yet but at-the-time government TD Conor Lenihan was angry. On the Vincent Browne Show in January of this year the Dublin TD reacted furiously when Vincent suggested (i.e. loudly told him) that the reason Lenihan hadn’t resigned, despite having no confidence in Brian Cowen, was out of self-interest.

“I have never, EVER tried to advance my own self interest,” bellowed Lenihan, as the other guests awkwardly shuffled the next day’s papers and pretended to read them.  ”Show some respect here”.

Vincent was having none of it though, telling the FF TD: “You’re not going to shout me down… You can take me full on all you bloody like”.

Sorry for the poor quality of the sound but it’s worth watching the whole few minutes, if only to see someone actually talking Vincent into submission, albeit briefly.

3. Charlie Sheen versus his producer

It started with his producer. Anyone with internet access would have caught Charlie Sheen’s bizarre, self-indulgent, tiger blood-fuelled ramblings back in February, where he talked about the awesome drug he was on (“Yeah, I am on a drug, it’s called Charlie Sheen) and well, just about anything else that was on his mind.

But what led to the outbursts was an interview he did with a conservative radio host just days before, where he laid into his producer. Calling Chuck Lorre, the man behind the inexplicably popular Two and a Half Men, a turd, Sheen also made anti-semitic comments about Lorre – which led to the show being suspended the very next day. Not winning, dude.

Lorre hit back by having Sheen fired – and hiring Ashton Kutcher to replace him. Later, he described it as a “painful year”. “This was a not a game. this was drug addiction writ large… that could have ended with either his death or someone else’s,” he said earlier this month.

4. Sean Gallagher and Martin McGuinness


Five days before October’s presidential election, Sean Gallagher’s lead looked unshakeable. The businessman was on 40 per cent, far ahead of his closest rival, and he was coasting to victory.

But that was before the Frontline presidential debate the Monday before the election.

From nowhere, Martin McGuinness alleged that Gallagher had been a ‘bagman’ for Fianna Fáil, collecting money in on behalf of the party. Gallagher fought back,  but his murky denial (“”If he gave me the cheque… it had nothing to do with me”) didn’t help.

He attacked McGuinness personally but McGuinness continued to fight back – as host Pat Kenny continued to exert pressure on Gallagher.

Five days later, Gallagher’s one-time unassailable lead evaporated – due in no small part to the McGuinness allegations – and Michael D won the presidency. Gallagher has since sought a formal apology from the broadcaster over how it handled the debate.

5. Piers Morgan and Louise Mensch (and Alan Sugar…)

As the hacking scandal bounced from scandal to scandal during the summer, Piers Morgan’s work in British tabloids was raked over by one Tory MP (and chicklit author).

Louise Mensch told a Westminster select committee examining phone hacking that Morgan had ‘boasted’ about phone hacking in his 2005 memoir. Morgan took to Twitter to ask her to substantiate her claims – but Mensch refused, citing parliamentary privilege.

After an angry confrontation on CNN, Mensch took to Twitter directing her followers to the reasons why Morgan had left the Mirror – to which Morgan hit back.

Unexpectedly Alan Sugar then got involved, criticising Mensch for her claims.

Meow! Insults, catfights and Twitter: the top feuds of 2011
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6. Piers Morgan (again) and Rio Ferdinand

What do you do when someone mocks your acadmic skills? Why,  slag off their man boobs, of course.

Rio Ferdinand wasn’t too happy when Piers Morgan slagged off his spelling mistakes so he decided to get his revenge. The Manchester United footballer told his 1.7 million followers that he wanted them to get #piershasmoobs trending.

He even pretended that he’d had a telling off from Twitter for cyber-bullying – which was then dutifully reported by a whole host of news outlets. Doh.

7. Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher

Seeing a couple have a go at each other can be awkward. When that’s on Twitter, in front of 13 million followers, it’s even more so.

Just weeks before they broke up, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore took to Twitter to voice some not-especially-subtle digs at each other.  Moore tweeted this rather strange picture of herself with her eyes closed and the cryptic message ‘I see through you’, while Kutcher responded with this bon mot:

8. Wayne Rooney and that Frankie guy from X Factor

This one wins the prize for most unexpected feud. Or possibly just the strangest.

Short-lived X Factor contestant Frankie Cocozza got on the wrong side of Rooney when he decided to start the classy hashtag #CelebsThatLooksLikeTheyStink.

Rooney quickly hit back. Burn.


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