Vivica A. Fox and 50 Cent clearly had one of the worst breakups in Black Hollywood history. Their connection was the embodiment of a May-December romance gone wrong, and exemplified why bad boys don’t always make the best bed partners for older women. The short-lived romance fizzled out almost immediately, but Fox, like many women, has had a hard time getting over her ex. Last year, when asked which of her exes was the love of her life, Fox revealed that out of all her exes, her ex-husband included, 50 Cent was the love of her life. 50 Cent was later asked about her remarks and diplomatically replied that he probably wasn’t ready for the relationship and wished her well. It seemed like we could put the relationship drama to bed with the two of them until BRAVO’s “Watch What Happens Live” show aired on Sunday, Nov. 7.
Fox started a social media war that is sure to take the heat off Meek Mill, Rick Ross, the #TLCgoingtojailparty and everything else that has social media’s attention, when during a guest appearance on ‘Watch What Happens Live” with Andy Cohen, she insinuated that 50 Cent was gay and referenced a former XXL cover of the rap mogul with Soulja Boy suggesting he looked like a “booty snatcher.” You could almost hear the virtual gasps as texting, tweeting and IG posting stopped in collective shock. Fellow guest Kandi Burruss immediately shifted the direction of her body away from Fox in apparent disbelief. What could make a 51-year-old actress lash out against rap’s biggest social media prankster and a 25-year-old rapper and “Love & Hip Hop Hollywood” cast member? What would make Fox, a middle aged woman who has openly struggled with her transition from sexy starlet to matronly supporting actress, start a war with two men who have nothing to lose in dragging her reputation through the mud, no doubt complete with sexual references that would usually be off limits?
As an entertainment publicist and media coach, I’ve always advised talent to err on the side of diplomacy when given an opportunity to speak negatively about another celebrity. Emotions often distort one’s authentic perspective and taking private feelings public risks giving a temporary situation long-term value. Perhaps Fox was angry with 50 Cent because of something the public isn’t privy to, now because she acted on impulse, her words along with everything 50 Cent and Soulja Boy throw back at her will appear when someone types her name into a search engine. Although Fox is a seasoned actress, that negative publicity will not work in her favor when casting directors consider her for possible opportunities. No talent is exempt from the aftermath of bad publicity. If a consumer brand is considering hiring Fox, and their marketing team initiates a search on her current popularity, references to her sexual performance or techniques via 50 Cent, whom she recently called the love of her life, will certainly not evidence her being a bankable asset.
Unfortunately for Fox, the fallout will hurt her social perception much worse than it will 50 Cent’s standing. 50 has made a career of being a bully and prankster and so it’s consistent with his brand. We expect 50 Cent to shoot videos mocking others and make claims against his competitors that often are unwarranted. 50 Cent’s fans follow him because they see his antics as entertaining. Fox has fans that love her for her acting ability and image of being the cool yet classy pretty girl next door. Hearing 50 Cent air out her sexual history isn’t something Fox’s audience expects and won’t mesh well with her brand.
My professional advice to Fox would be to consult with a reputable publicist and draft a retraction statement taking ownership for her actions, and apologizing to 50 Cent and Soulja Boy. If she does it the right way it could diffuse 50 Cent’s comedic attack and may even shame Soulja Boy from adding anything else to the fire. (No one really enjoys throwing verbal jabs at a woman older than their mother.) If Fox chooses not to retract her statement; I would suggest doing a bang up job at promoting her alleged upcoming guest role on “Empire.” In Hollywood, the only thing that trumps bad publicity is using your talent to get back on top!