On Sunday evening, I spent an hour on the phone with a source that worked with Lady Gaga up until December. She, along with many others, were fired from Gaga’s team as Gaga tried to blame people for the failure of ARTPOP. We talked a little bit about Lady Gaga and her rise to stardom. But the most interesting part was how my source claimed that Lady Gaga strategically tried to end Madonna’s career.
My source claims It all started in August of 2008, when Lady Gaga attended one of Madonna’s concerts in England. Troy Carter allegedly encouraged Gaga to attend the show and “watch very closely.” Gaga supposedly pretended to have fun, but she thought the concert was awful. “She can’t sing and her dancing is only average,” Gaga allegedly told people. My source says Gaga was truly jealous of Madonna’s fame.
When “Just Dance” hit number one, Gaga claimed she wanted to be bigger than Madonna. “Troy Carter orchestrated that Gaga would try to recreate Madonna’s career piece by piece. She would wear the same outfits, sing similar songs, and try to seduce the gay community the same way Madonna did. Both Gaga and Troy Carter studied hours of Madonna videos, television interviews, and movies. It was the most strategic thing I have ever seen.”
Gaga and Troy especially studied a book called Encyclopedia Madonnica, written by gay photographer (and HUGE Madonna fan) Matthew Rettenmund. Troy would actually give Gaga quizzes on the contents of the book, which examined every single aspect of Madonna’s life and career. Gaga allegedly had people stalk Madonna and take notes every time she arrived at the Kaballah Center. “It was scary the way she was obsessed with Madonna. She actually thought by studying Madonna so strategically, she could transfer Madonna’s powers on to herself.”
Let’s go back to the “gay” thing. While Gaga was never a homophobic like some people claim, my source claims her “activism” was definitely planned by her management and other people. “Lady Gaga’s gay activism was all part of the marketing plan. Before she became a megastar, she didn’t even know that Bette Midler was a gay icon,” my source laughs.
Madonna and Gaga appeared on Saturday Night Live together in October of 2009. Actually, Madonna was originally scheduled to host and perform on the show the same night Gaga was. However, things fell through and Gaga hosted instead. Troy Carter (not Gaga) contacted Madonna’s manager Guy Oseary to see if he could get Madonna to appear on the show. He thought having Madonna appear will show just how much better and how much more talented Gaga is. Oseary talked to Madonna, who agreed to do a skit with Gaga. Carter wanted Madonna to perform with Gaga on one of her musical numbers, but Madonna didn’t have enough preparation time.
Madonna really did admire Gaga at first. “Madonna wasn’t threatened by Gaga at all. She came to her shows and was really impressed with Gaga’s talents. She liked the fact that Gaga brought dance music back to the mainstream,” my source says. “But things soon took a wild turn.”
It started with the release of the video “Alejandro,” which many people thought was a little too close for comfort to Madonna’s most iconic videos. Madonna even complained to Steven Klein, who directed the video. But Madonna was far more furious when the song “Born This Way” was released. The song used the same exact chord structure, vocal style, and even music as Madonna’s iconic “Express Yourself.” Gaga was heavily criticized for this and rightly so.
Instead of admitting the songs sounded familiar, Gaga, dressed almost exactly like Madonna did during her Blonde Ambition Tour, took a Grammy and decided to thank Whitney Houston for inspiring “Born This Way.” Madonna was furious. Whitney Houston, if you remember, once said she would kill her daughter if she ended up being like Madonna. Even worse, Gaga went on Jay Leno the next night and announced that Madonna sent her an email of approval for “Born This Way.” This email was denounced by Madonna’s publicist, Liz Rosenberg.
Still, Madonna remained quiet about the situation. However, Gaga was angry that she had been labeled a Madonna clone, believing she was much better than the original. Instead of explaining why she wasn’t a Madonna Clone, Gaga and her team allegedly decided that they would be better off going after Madonna personally. Allegedly, Gaga (under various screen names) would post negative messages about Madonna. “She went from several message boards to Twitter, all under fake aliases, and posted how “Express Yourself” was actually a ripoff of “Respect Yourself” by the Staple Singers. When we told her that Madonna actually credits the Staples Singers on the Like a Prayer album, she didn’t even care!” my source claims.
Lady Gaga also allegedly encouraged her team to say bad things about Madonna to the press. This led to her then creative director Laurieann Gibson ripping into Madonna during several interviews. When asked about Gaga possibly ripping off Madonna, Gibson told the LA Times, “Listen, [Madonna] should be bitter because we did it on purpose, and you can quote me. We did it on purpose because for all those kids who believe that you can’t, we wanted to let them feel that you can. And that’s what I represent, that’s what Gags represents. That’s what this movement represents.”
Gibson’s statement allegedly pissed off Gaga immensely, because even though Gaga allegedly told Gibson to talk negatively about Madonna, she never wanted Gibson to admit she was copying Madonna. Gibson was fired in November of 2011, right around the time Gaga released her flopped single “Marry the Night.”
When Madonna called the song “Born This Way” reductive on ABC in January of 2012, Gaga was furious. She allegedly began a smear campaign with Elton John, D.J. White Shadow, Deadmau5, and others. Gaga allegedly tried to get Tony Bennett on board, but he refused to take part of what he saw as a childish conflict. If you remember, Elton John went on a tirade against Madonna at the Golden Globe Awards in 2012. It was all in the name of Lady Gaga.
Around the time of Madonna’s Super Bowl performance, a group called “The Lady Gaga Project” emerged with a blog (soon taken down) dedicated to making Madonna’s life hell. The actual blog was allegedly started by someone from the “Haus of Gaga” who has derided Madonna before. However, he wasn’t responsible for the most vile posts, such as comparing Madonna’s son David to a monkey and making fun of Madonna’s deceased mother.
The blog included racist comments about Madonna’s kids, jokes about Madonna spreading AIDS, and a grassroots effort to ruin Madonna’s Super Bowl campaign by spreading hateful and negative messages about Madonna on Twitter, Facebook, The Huffington Post, and several other outlets. Although some of Gaga’s sane fans asked Gaga to speak out against it, she only kept encouraging it by being silent. “Gaga thought this blog was hilarious. She didn’t agree with a lot of the content, but was laughing hysterically reading the posts, because she thought it was Madonna’s karma. She was supposed to be an activist against bullying, but didn’t mind seeing Madonna bullied,” my source claims.
Along with Elton John, my source claims that Gaga created a further whisper campaign against Madonna with the press and several music executives. Around that time, there were several articles about how Madonna was an old has-been who is bullying Gaga, the much younger and hotter superstar. Some of those articles were allegedly written word for word by Team Gaga. In fact, Gaga allegedly became very friendly with an entertainment editor at the Huffington Post (who no longer works in that position) and encouraged him to trash Madonna. This writer soon wrote several headlining articles bashing Madonna for her age, her irrelevancy, her use of guns, and even supported Elton John when he called Madonna the “C” word. When writing articles that compared Gaga to Madonna, Gaga would always come out on top.
In 2013, an effort by Little Monsters to get Madonna banned from the GLADD awards started. Gaga’s fans went as far as claiming Madonna started AIDS, encouraged the spread of the disease among gay men, and many other slanderous things. After this went viral, Gaga’s management allegedly encouraged her to make a statement condemning the fans who would spread such slanderous hate. However, even though she didn’t agree with the campaign, my source claims Gaga absolutely refused to make a statement and told her management Madonna brought this all onto herself.
It’s important to note that Madonna isn’t the only one Gaga tried to disarm. “There was a huge smear campaign against Christina Aguilera as well. I can’t believe she got away with it. The whole industry knew about the smear campaign against Aguilera but did nothing to stop it,” my source says, believing that the music industry thought Aguilera was too much of an ego-inflated snob to really care. There will be more about this in another story.