News Article

Fighting Words

Celebrities feud about the war in Iraq. Politics gets personal for James Woods and Michael Moore, Chris Rock and Matt Drudge, and others

James Woods, Michael Moore | STATE OF THE UNION Can Woods and Moore settle their differences?
Image credit: James Woods: Avik Gilboa/WireImage.com; Michael Moore: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage.com
STATE OF THE UNION Can Woods and Moore settle their differences?

The troops in Iraq aren't the only ones dropping bombs. Celebrities on both sides of the war debate are duking it out, adding personal insults to the hot button polemic. Here's a breakdown of who's feuding and why -- plus, some suggestions about how these stars can make peace, not war.

WHO James Woods vs. Michael Moore
HOW IT STARTED Moore received both applause and boos for using his Oscar acceptance speech as a political platform, remarking, ''We are against this war, Mr. Bush, shame on you!''
HOW IT ENDED On ''The Tonight Show,'' Woods told host Jay Leno he saw Moore as a ''fraud'' and ''chickens---'' who played the role of liberal provocateur for profit. He condemned the Oscar speech as untimely and inappropriate.
PEACE PLEA Forget about making up: Turn on a video camera, let these two debate until they're out of breath, and enjoy!

WHO Chris Rock vs. Matt Drudge
HOW IT STARTED Internet reporter Drudge claimed DreamWorks executives had urged their ''Head of State'' star not to make negative comments about Bush or the war in Iraq while promoting the comedy. Rock once joked of Bush, ''He's not stupid, he's just drunk.''
HOW IT ENDED In a statement, Rock teased, ''No one from DreamWorks has told me they were concerned that I might say something bad about the President, but they have expressed concerns that if I see Matt Drudge, I might put my red-blooded American foot up his un-American a--.'' Drudge didn't see the humor: The headline for a story on his site was ''Comic threatens violence against Drudge.''
PEACE PLEA An intensive workshop on satire hosted by Rock would do Drudge a world of good.

WHO Toby Keith, Ted Nugent, and Travis Tritt vs. Natalie Maines
HOW IT STARTED Maines claimed Keith's patriotic anthem ''Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue (The Angry American)'' ''makes country music sound ignorant.'' She later told a London audience she was ''ashamed'' President Bush was from Texas.
HOW IT ENDED In concert, Keith projected a doctored photograph of Maines and Saddam Hussein on a video screen while playing ''Courtesy.'' Travis Tritt joined the fray by calling Maines' anti-Bush comments ''a cheap shot,'' and suggesting that the Chicks would play a military base if they were truly sorry. Ted Nugent then accused the band of living in ''an insulated world of fantasy and then criticiz[ing] the very system by which you can live free and brave.''
PEACE PLEA Maines could help Keith pen a better patriotic song than ''Courtesy'' (maybe her slam was aimed not at Keith's politics, but his plodding lyrics). As for Tritt and Nugent, a duet with the infamous bad boys of country and rock would be a perfect fit -- perhaps Tritt's ''T-R-O-U-B-L-E''?

WHO Oasis' Liam Gallagher vs. Coldplay's Chris Martin
HOW IT STARTED While playing a London benefit for teenage cancer victims with his band, Martin made anti-war comments.
HOW IT ENDED Gallagher slammed Martin for bringing up the war when cancer was the cause. ''If him and his gawky bird [Martin's girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow] want to go banging on about the war they can do it at their own gigs,'' Gallagher told London's Sun. Martin, who has compared Gallagher to Beethoven and covers Oasis' ''Songbird'' at shows, can take comfort knowing he's the one going home with the ''gawky bird.''
PEACE PLEA Settle it the Oasis way: a few pints, a bar brawl, and forget about it.

Originally posted Mar 31, 2003
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