By Derek de Koff / June 8, 2018 2:47 pm EDT / Updated: March 15, 2019 10:54 am EDT
Veteran shock jock Howard Stern carped on David Letterman, blasted the FCC, and crowed, "There are a lot of people hoping I fail. But I like that. I need to be hated, " all in one 1994 Rolling Stone interview. Well, Stern should've been careful what he wished for. Over the years, the self-professed " King of All Media " has certainly succeeded in getting under a lot of celebrity skin. In Stern's self-consciously sleazy world, ostracizing celebrities is just par for the course, and the radio personality can seemingly create powerful foes out of thin air.
Musician Carnie Wilson felt mercilessly fat-shamed during a particularly unpleasant 1999 interview. Dolly Parton was "shocked, hurt, and humiliated" when the radio personality used her own words against her. And, mere hours before his death, comedian Steve Allen allegedly said Stern had "never in his whole life said anything the least bit witty." That's just the tip of the iceberg, too. "I seem to be some sort of lightning rod, " Stern told 60 Minutes in 2005. "I just really irritate people, you know?" Well, at least he's self-aware. Over the years, Stern's on-air antics have inspired stars to threaten his life on Twitter, call him admittedly silly names like "Coward Stern, " and occasionally give him a taste of his own medicine. Let's take a closer look at some celebs who can't stand Stern.
Andy Dick's disgusting diatribe
This one is all kinds of terrible. In August 2011, troubled comedian Andy Dick hit new depths of depravity during an appearance on The Greg Fitzsimmons Show. According to Radar Online, he called Howard Stern a "shallow, money-grubbing Jew." Dick was reportedly upset with Stern for hanging up on him after he called into The Howard Stern Show in March 2011. He also allegedly didn't think Stern stuck up for him enough when his own radio show was squashed. "For two years I did the show, never got a cent, " Dick griped, adding, "I have no problem with his big fat hook nose ... and his money-grubbing, miserly Jewishness."
Stern struck back on a subsequently broadcast, telling listeners, "I guess Andy's downward spiral continues, and now he's blaming me for all his problems. Stop looking for handouts, you f***ing wacko!" The shock jock surmised that the only reason Dick's show was cancelled was because "it sucked." He added, "I don't like the anti-Semitic bulls**t. He should stand up and be a man."
Dolly Parton was 'hurt and humiliated'
"I have never been so shocked, hurt, and humiliated in all my life." That was Dolly Parton's reaction to a segment on The Howard Stern Show that spliced snippets from an audio book she'd narrated. Parton's words were reshuffled into a pervy pastiche edited to make it sound like the music legend was alternately spewing racist epitaphs or succumbing to some sort of carnal meltdown. Our strident moral code prevents us from sharing the segment with you, but it can be easily found online after some perfunctory Google sleuthing.
As Billboard reported in 2008, the usually unflappable Parton was furious enough to issue a statement about Stern's schtick, writing that she couldn't believe what Stern had cooked up. She added that not "in a blue million years" would she ever "have such vulgar things come out of [her] mouth." Parton profusely apologized to fans for the whole "horrible, horrible thing" and even threatened to sue Stern: "If there was ever going to be a lawsuit, it's going to be over this. ... I am completely devastated by this."
Stern didn't exactly get down on his knees and beg forgiveness. In a subsequent episode of his show, he said, "It's obviously parody and it's funny as hell" (via The Boot). As for the lawsuit, Stern didn't think Parton had any sort of "actionable case, but bring it on."
Steve Allen dissed Stern right before he died
On Oct. 30th, 2000, journalist Jon Kalish visited the Los Angeles office of Steve Allen, the late comic best known as the creator and original host of Tonight Starring Steve Allen, which eventually evolved into The Tonight Show(via The New York Times). Allen dedicated a large chunk of the interview to lamenting modern comics. In his estimation, they were far too dependent on shock value when it came to administering the guffaws. As a chief example of the phenomenon, he focused a great deal of his ire on Howard Stern.
In Allen's opinion, the shock jock had "never in his whole life said anything the least bit witty or philosophically insightful, " as reported by the New York Daily News . He accused Stern of doing nothing but talking "dirty, like some emotionally disturbed 14-year-old, asking women to pull up their dresses and all that garbage stuff." As fate would have it, this happened to be Allen's very last interview — and his very last day on Earth. The funnyman died only a few hours later from what was initially suspected to be a heart attack. His cause of death eventually proved to be a ruptured blood vessel, caused by injuries he'd sustained earlier that day in a minor car accident.
Carnie Wilson was hurt by Stern's fat-shaming
Stern's alleged fat-shaming wounded Carnie Wilson. According to People, the Wilson Phillips singer stopped by The Talk in 2017 and revealed a mordantly unpleasant story from days of yore. Back in 1999, Wilson paid a visit to The Howard Stern Show, and was allegedly tricked by a producer, who sneakily lured her into standing on a scale: "Step over here and wait for Howard, " he allegedly said. Wilson looked down and saw the scale blinking "233 pounds" in "red, big numbers" and thought to herself: "'Howard, ready to shame me?' They purposely did it."
Wilson stuck up for herself during the interview, but it sounds like the experience haunted her for decades. "I always get Howard by the cajones, " she told The Talk. Still, she was stunned when Stern wondered aloud why her then-fiancé, Rob Bonfiglio, would stay with a woman her size, leading Wilson to reply: "'You know what, you're really a piece...' I gave it back to him." But inside, she was dying. "It was one of the worst experiences I ever had, " she lamented. "I was so devastated and so embarrassed. Humiliated really." That evening, Bonfiglio tried to cheer Wilson up by buying her yellow roses, but she was inconsolable and "literally crawled in bed."
Lena Dunham's last laugh
In a 2013 segment of his SiriusXM radio show, Howard Stern came for Lena Dunham and her former HBO series Girls, indelicately calling her "a little fat girl who kind of looks like Jonah Hill and she keeps taking her clothes off." Perhaps worried the statement didn't decimate her character enough, Stern worked a few different angles, also calling Dunham a "little fat chick" and a "camera hog."
The following year, Dunham got the sweetest revenge. While attending Stern's 60th birthday bash at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom, she effectively gave the shock jock a taste of his own medicine (which is bitter). According to Page Six, guests including Barbara Walters, Chelsea Handler, Jon Bon Jovi, and Sarah Silverman were treated to Dunham taking the stage to make a toast to Stern. Well, that toast quickly devolved into a roast. The Girls star sniped that Howard Stern looked "like a cartoon of a Jewish female horse." We're not cringing, you're cringing.
Hateful hosts: Howard Stern vs. Larry King
Back in 2010, veteran talk show host Larry King used a Steppin' Out profile to air his many grievances against Howard Stern (via the New York Daily News ). Speaking to columnist Chaunce Hayden, King said he "wouldn't want to be compared to Howard Stern" because "he's not tasteful at all." Apparently in no mood to mince words, King added, "You go to the least common denominator and that's Howard Stern." Elsewhere in the profile, King rather oddly proclaimed that Stern "would like you to print that I called him a smock, " which we think is an attempt to evoke the word "schmuck, " but don't quote us on that. Fortunately, most of King's gibes were far less ambiguous than that. For instance, he said, "I regard Howard Stern as worthless."
Of course, Stern wasn't about to let this stinging commentary go unheeded. "He's a frog ... an imp ... a loser, " he subsequently told the New York Daily News. And like us, Stern also didn't understand the whole "smock" thing: "Is that something you wear when you paint?" Not to be outdone, he proceeded to give King a verbal tongue-lashing, jeering that "the man had one foot in the grave" and was "no longer relevant." Hey, the high road isn't for everybody.
Roz 'The Diva' Mays has a message for Stern
Fitness trainer and pole-dancing instructor Roz "The Diva" Mays claims judges treated her quite harshly when she auditioned for Season 10 of America's Got Talent —and Howard Stern may have been the rudest of them all. "[He] told me that I was too fat to be in this industry, " Mays revealed in 2015 (per the Daily Mail ). To hear her say it, Stern allegedly took the fat-shaming one step further, telling Mays "that nobody should ever hire [her]" because she was "too big."
Although the New York-based dancer was reportedly featured in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it montage, Mays told ESPNthat her 90-second audition didn't air on television. Nevertheless, the whole awkward scene went down "in front of 1, 000-plus people, " including her parents. Mays found a remarkable way to strike back at Stern and everyone else who claimed she was too heavy to be a dancer. In a short film, she performed a particularly gravity-defying pole-dancing routine, eloquently expressing why she's "so tired of hearing" that "people who are carrying extra weight [are] lazy, they're fat, they don't care." She explained, "None of that is true."
Sam Smith 'can't believe' Stern's choice of words
Talk about a mixed message. During a 2015 broadcast, Howard Stern said he "loves" pop star Sam Smith for being the "male Adele, " but he evidently wasn't quite so keen on the Grammy winner's physical appearance. According to Us Weekly, the diatribe began when Stern crowed, "You know what I like about the guy? He's an ugly motherf****er. He's fat." That's certainly a roundabout way to express your fandom, but Stern was apparently just getting started. He began mulling over Smith's sexuality, too: "Is he gay? He looks gay to me, not that anybody looks gay, but he does seem effeminate." (Smith had come out the year prior.) Throughout the spiel, Stern kept alternately insulting and complimenting the musician, barking, "I like that he's chubby and gay. ... He's fat and he's gay and little girls worship him."
As supportive fans rallied behind Smith on social media, the "Stay with Me" singer struck back succinctly on Twitter, referring to Stern's tirade in two extremely terse tweets. "Can't believe what I've just read, " he wrote. Then, he simply stated: "Ignore."
Jamie Foxx labels the radio host 'Coward Stern'
Howard Stern and Jamie Foxx had something of a SiriusXM smackdown in 2010. As The Daily Telegraphreported, the fracas began when Stern allegedly insinuated that Foxx was gay. "I got a s**tload of stuff on Jamie which isn't a lot of fun, " he blathered. "My guess is we're probably not on the same team. ... I don't know what team he's on, but it ain't my team."
This subsequently inspired Foxx to imply Stern's popularity was flagging. During a broadcast on his now-defunct Foxxhole Radio channel, Foxx jeered, "I hope that this feud gets us hot, because Howard hasn't really made a big splash in a long time." Foxx also took great pains to aggressively reassert his heterosexuality in a rambling speech that somehow managed to drag delicious pizza into the fray. "A lot of people say that I'm gay and that doesn't bother me, " Foxx declared. He bragged about feeling so remarkably, unswervingly secure in his own sexuality that he could safely "eat a pizza in a male shower and not feel anything." After inserting that indelible word-picture into our brains, Foxx ramped up the machismo even further: "I'm not gonna take that, Coward Stern. I'm not gonna take that from a person who has chronic gonorrhea."
Arsenio Hall called Howard Stern a 'slimeburger'
According to theChicago Tribune, Ray D. O'Fan's 1994 trivia book Sternmaniaasks readers to guess, "What intelligent talk-show host called Stern 'a slimeburger to the max?'" We can answer that one for you. As recounted on his official website, Stern was interviewed by comedian Arsenio Hall in the 1980s, and things didn't go too well. The whole segment was intensely awkward from the get-go. Hall tentatively introduced Stern as "the meanest, nastiest, dirtiest DJ in the whole wide world." Perhaps to prove him right, Stern sat down and immediately asked, "How's it feel to be part of a failing show? How long before you get the pink slip?" As Hall tittered nervously, Stern sneered, "I'll be honest with you, I don't know who Arsenio is."
After filming the segment, Stern claimed he was escorted from the studio, writing in his 1993 memoir Private Parts: "Just because I trashed [Rupert] Murdoch, the Fox network, and Arsenio was no reason for me to be thrown out of a building." According to the memoir, Hall ridiculed Stern on TV a few nights later, in what Stern called "the lamest monologue ever." During the bit, Hall reportedly said Stern is "the reason why a lotta women are gay" and referred to him as "a slimeburger to the max."
"You call this comedy?" Stern wrote in his book. "What a monologue!"
Russell Crowe says he can 'bench press' Stern
In March 2017, a photo of actor Russell Crowe began making the rounds. It featured him kicking around a rugby ball and enjoying a spot of warm weather in Australia. The photo made it look like Crowe, who was dressed in a baggy tank top and shorts, had packed on a few pounds since 1992's Romper Stomper. The tabloids subsequently had a field day, with Page Six nicknaming the Gladiatorstar "Maximus drink-imus." Multiple outlets reported that Howard Stern called out Crowe's weight on his show, emphasizing that, while he put in the required effort "to stay thin and in shape, " Crowe had simply become a " big fatso ."
Once this was brought to Crowe's attention by a concerned fan on Twitter, the actor shot down Stern's taunting commentary with a tweet of his own: "I can bench press young Howard ... he cannot say the same."
Since so many people made a fuss about Stern's coarse comments, the radio host felt inclined to set the record straight in a subsequent April broadcast, crowing, "I didn't body-shame Russell Crowe!" For the record, Stern's original commentary included such observations as, "I've met [Crowe] personally — very nice guy. But he's big and fat."
Rapper Chet Haze wanted to 'hurt' Stern
In 2015, the media was wasting lots of perfectly good ink on Chester Hanks, son of actor Tom Hanks . Performing under the stage name " Chet Haze, " the Brentwood-raised entertainer fancies himself an extraordinarily hardcore rapper, liberally spewing the N-word on social media under the pretense of championing "free speech." As People reported, Howard Stern has routinely skewered Haze, once inferring that the young Hanks was "stealing ... black culture."
Haze didn't appreciate that very much and struck back at Stern by calling his listeners "average yuppie cornball[s]." He also claimed Stern was "old, " tweeting that "only old people listen to you[.] The young generation doesn't know you."
According to Radar Online, Stern's mockery of the wannabe rapper spans as far back as February 2011, when he sniped, "Where'd he grow up, Beverly Hills? What a f****n' d*****e." But the animosity hit a fever pitch in 2015, after Stern threatened to tweet Tom Hanks and tell him to cut off his son's allowance.
In turn, Haze threatened to physically assault Stern, tweeting, "I am going to see you in person, and I am going to hurt you." His Twitter meltdown also included such gems as, "I am going to assault you when I see you. You can't run from me forever knock knees." To add to all the abject terror, Haze included a gun emoji in one tweet, apparently indicating that he meant business.