BRAND NEW UPDATE (08/29/2014) – ONE WEEK AFTER THE ARIANA GRANDE INCIDENT.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE RESPONSE FROM MS. GRANDE AND HER REPRESENTATIVES?
THE ORIGINAL POST, THAT SOMEHOW BECAME A NEWS ITEM, IS RIGHT BELOW THIS ONE.
How has Ariana Grande responded to the disappointed MTV contest winners?
That is the question I have received most over the past week. There have been a lot of questions, and I’ll try to answer them all here at once. This has actually become too big to even handle by a family without the power of a public relations army working for them.
I never imagined that our little blog post would be read by hundreds of thousands of people, in almost 200 countries, but somehow, it has. Many of these people have asked if Ms. Grande has reached out to the fans she walked out on one week ago. These are the most popular questions:
“Has she invited everyone to re-do the meeting?”
“Has she mailed the explanation letter she talked about writing?”
“Has she tweeted any of the fans who were there?”
“Has she called anyone on the phone?”
We have waited a week to answer these questions, as we didn’t want to rush into anything, and my daughters had faith that she would maybe just make a two minute phone call, so they could all explain their side, get past the whole thing, and the girls could concentrate on buying and enjoying her new album.
Our family has been bombarded with interview requests all week – and up to this point have granted NONE. We had no desire to make this a bigger issue. Those few who have labeled us as “fame hungry” may not realize that we wrote a post, out of frustration, on a blog that used to get maybe 3 hits a day. We didn’t follow up until now, and we didn’t sell any interview to anyone. We just wanted to speak out for fans everywhere – even those who now hate and harass us. Treating contest winners as an annoyance is not really cool. This was not a case of interrupting a celebrity on the street, or in a restaurant, and it was not a large scale meet and greet of hundreds of people. It was three contest winners, with one guest each. That’s it.
Ariana has tweeted that she was saddened by the contest-winning artwork that featured a drawing of her and her departed grandfather. We do not dispute the fact that she may well have been so affected, but this is important to note, please:
EVERYTHING in the original blog post occurred BEFORE she saw the artwork that featured her and Mr. Grande.
The “only a selfie allowed” warning.
The confiscation of any gifts intended for her, including one fan’s contest-winning CD of violin versions of Ariana songs. That young man poured his heart into that, and traveled across the country to hand it to her.
The lack of banter with anyone – not even asking their names, or if they were the contest winners (as opposed to the guests).
The ordering of security to be sure all non-selfies were DELETED.
Heading off to leave after spending just seconds with each winner.
ALL OF THIS OCCURRED BEFORE ANY ARTWORK WAS PRESENTED TO ARIANA GRANDE.
She was already walking away from her fans when my daughter Jen mustered up the courage to approach her with the artwork. Jen and her sister Kelly had recently lost their own grandpa, and their intention was to tell Ariana that they loved her and that they felt her pain because they knew what she was going through. They wanted to say “We feel you as a person right now, not as a superstar, because we know the pain in your heart.”
They assumed Ms. Grande was aware of the artwork because it won the contest for Jen, and, as with the other young man’s violin CD, it came from a place of love. Jen wanted to give Ari the originals to keep.
The other piece of artwork featured Ariana and Iggy Azalea, and it was this drawing that Ariana was looking at when she ordered all pictures deleted. She had not seen the grandpa drawing yet. When she did see the grandpa drawing, she walked out. Remember, she had been on the way out already, before Jen walked up to her with the artwork. She had taken the fan selfies and was on the way out.
We believe that Ariana was affected in some way by seeing the artwork, we are not challenging that. It’s just that nobody knew it at the time, and it doesn’t really explain everything that went on before it. The fans were treated horribly before that final few seconds.
So, to answer the above questions, there has been no contact at all from Ms. Grande to the fans in the week that followed.
We received a midweek phone call from Mr. Joseph Carozza, vice president of Ariana’s Republic record label. The girls looked at me as if to say “We knew Ari would make this right.”
Here was the sum total of the phone call: Mr. Carozza asked me to update the blog by writing that we now understood why Ariana acted as she did – because of her being in mourning.
When I asked him why I should do that considering that everything noted in the blog occurred BEFORE she saw the drawing, he responded that this post had become a legitimate news story and that it was Ariana’s album release week, and the story was making her uncomfortable.
I told him that I was sorry for all that, but that my girls had been affected too – as they were receiving death threats.
He reiterated the notion that Ariana had wanted to contact the girls after she had walked out on them, but that MTV had no way to deliver the “letter” she talked about.
I reminded him that MTV knew exactly where the contest winners were staying for all three nights – as they had placed them in that hotel. They also had everyone’s phone number (that’s how Mr. Carozza got it to call us in the first place), home address, email address, and quite literally – their picture IDs and social security numbers.
Perhaps the Ariana letter could have been sent over to the hotel when MTV had the VMA passes driven there two days after the meet and greet?
I suggested that maybe Ms. Grande could phone the contest winners personally, for two minutes, just to have each side make nice, put it all behind them, and I could update this blog with a happy ending saying how Ariana reached out and acted like a true star. I could then write that the girls were excited to buy the new album.
We still waited several more days, in the hope that, within all of her promotional fan interactions, she might still call, tweet, or send a note to the original winners, as part of her weeklong album release fan experience.
I called Mr. Carozza as a final reaching-out gesture to see if any contact might happen soon, before writing this follow up.
No, it will not.
There is a happy ending to this, though. The happiness is not with the spurned contest winners, but with the fans who have met Ariana Grande since this blog became news. She has gone out of her way to meet many fans, with cameras rolling, surprising them at America’s Got Talent and the Today Show. Giving them VIP passes – on national television, singing happy birthday to one, hugging them all, taking Vines with them, doing repeated live chats, and telephone Q&A sessions. She also has tweeted several of them personally, and posted repeated tweets about how she loves all of her fans.
The ones who earned a meeting with her through difficult contest entries, and follow up phone interviews, have received none of that.
They have been forgotten by Ariana Grande and her huge publicity machine.
They have no voice in this world except for this tiny blog page. I’ve been asked why I wrote it to begin with – well, Ms. Grande is famous for (rightfully) defending her family when they have been wronged. I chose to do that for my daughters, and the other contest winners. It’s that simple.
But the happy ending is that, at least for now, some fans are being treated as actual human beings.
That was the point from day one.
For the few who call our family “liars” regarding all of this, I put this offer out there: Every one of us will take a public polygraph exam if Ms. Grande will agree to do the same.
Every word I have written has been the absolute truth.
We don’t have a corporate spin machine to twist the story, we don’t have the power to tell magazines and websites that we will refuse future interviews with them if they don’t slant the story our way, and we don’t have millions of fans who believe everything we say.
We just know that if we tell the true story, there will be no guilt in our hearts.
Say “Hi” – of course we’ll follow back on Twitter:
DAN (DAD): @DanOVegas
JO (MOM): @JoanneOVegas