People Katy Perry Treated Like Trash

The following article includes mentions of addiction, sexual abuse allegations, and mental health issues.

Katy Perry has had a whirlwind career since she first hit the pop scene in 2008 with the release of her controversial No. 1 single "I Kissed a Girl." She shattered records with her instant-classic album "Teenage Dream," performed at the Super Bowl (and spawned a million "Left Shark" memes), advocated for LGBTQ+ rights (even though she has some not-so-woke songs hiding deep in her back catalogue ... "Ur So Gay," it's you we're side-eyeing), and campaigned for presidential candidates. As her career has slowed down in recent years — even though "Never Really Over" deserved to smash as much as any of her hit songs, if you ask us — she successfully pivoted to reality television, still driving culture as one of the judges on the rebooted "American Idol."

However, behind the bubbly persona, and beneath the rainbows, gummy bears, unicorns, and colorful wigs ("...wig? Did you just say wig?"), there is sometimes a dark side to Katy Perry. Especially early in her career, the "Harleys in Hawaii" songstress refused to hold back online, often talking trash about other celebrities in public as much as she evidently treated them poorly behind-the-scenes. 

Read on for a roundup of just some of the people Katy Perry has treated like trash, and keep in mind: many of her biggest feuds have dragged on for years, and even the ones that seem to have been resolved, well ... just because they're over doesn't mean they're really over.

Lily Allen

Katy Perry and feisty British singer Lily Allen have exchanged harsh words over the years. Back in 2008, during the early years of Perry's fame, Allen told CapitalFM (via 9 News) that she was "frosty" with the American hitmaker the first time they met, because she was upset about a joke Perry had recently made. "She's like, 'Aha, I'm like a fatter version of Amy Winehouse and a skinnier version of Lily Allen,'" Allen relayed. "It's like, you're not English and you don't write your own songs, shut up."

A few days later, Perry confirmed to Us Weekly that she had indeed made the joke, and she apologized for making Allen upset. "I was just kind of joking and trying to be funny. I didn't mean anything by it. Comedians are not necessarily to be taken super seriously," she said. Pop stars aren't necessarily to be taken seriously, either, but still...

Allen later referenced Perry in her 2014 song "Sheezus," which plays into the media's tendency to pit women against each other. Picking sides, Allen sang in reference to Rihanna and Perry (via Genius), "RiRi isn't scared of Katy Perry's roaring." Apology not accepted, it seems!

Calvin Harris

Katy Perry and Calvin Harris were supposed to tour together in support of her record-breaking album "Teenage Dream," but the former's team apparently changed the stage production around at the last minute, annoying the British DJ. As was often the case for Perry's disagreements with other stars back in the day, the argument spilled over onto social media, and the two aired out their differences in full view of the public.

"Fyi All Uk & Ireland Related Shows @CalvinHarris will Not be joining in on the fun and has Cancelled last minute," Perry tweeted back in 2011. Harris defended himself, letting his followers know that he was unhappy with the change in production standards. He reasoned (via The Evening Standard), "Trust me you would have been more disappointed SEEING the show than u are with me cancelling." Not willing to let Harris get the last word, Perry shot back, "It's fine, I'm used to you cancelling on me, it's become ur staple!" Meanwhile, Gigwise reported that a bunch of Katycats then sent Harris disturbing tweets, and Perry didn't call off her fans. "WTF are Katy Perry fans telling me to kill myself on Twitter for? Seriously. I'm a producer making music. Leave me alone please thanks," he begged.

The two made up years later and released the 2017 hit single "Feels" together. For her part, Perry told Ryan Seacrest at the time (via People), "We'd had little falling outs here and there. We'd had some public Twitter spats. ... It was time to put all that behind us."

American Idol contestant Benjamin Glaze

In 2018, Katy Perry joined the judging team of the rebooted "American Idol," which had ended a few years earlier before grinding back to life on a new network. Almost immediately, Perry faced backlash for her actions on the show. Benjamin Glaze, then 19, auditioned for the judging panel that consisted of Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan, confessing beforehand that he had never kissed a girl. Perry invited him to kiss her on the cheek, but when he merely pressed his lips against her, she teased, "You didn't even make the smush sound!" When he went in for a second attempt, she turned her head, surprising him with a kiss directly on the mouth.

"Well, that's a first," Glaze said, running his hands through his hair uncomfortably while the judges made fun of him going weak in the knees. His rendition of Nick Jonas' song "Levels" unfortunately failed to impress, and he was not given a golden ticket to Hollywood.

After the episode aired and controversy erupted across social media, Glaze told The New York Times, "I was a tad bit uncomfortable. I wanted to save it for my first relationship. I wanted it to be special." However, he later wrote on Facebook (via BBC News) that he was mostly uncomfortable just because it was so unexpected. "I do not think I was sexually harassed by Katy Perry," he clarified.

Katie Perry

Katy Perry was born Katheryn Hudson, and before she became the megastar fans know and love today — she of whipped-cream bras and Left Shark — she released an album as Katy Hudson. The record flopped; as Pop Crave notes, various outlets often say the album only sold 200 copies. Because there was already a famous Kate Hudson, a rebrand as "Katy Perry" followed in 2008 with the release of "One of the Boys," and the rest is pop history.

The trouble is ... there was already a Katie Perry. Australian designer Katie Perry tried to trademark the name back in 2009, in the early days of singer Katy Perry's fame, and Katy's lawyers sent Katie a cease-and-desist letter to prevent her from using her own name to sell clothes, according to the Daily Mail. The resulting lawsuits dragged on for years; at the time of this writing, Katie the designer most recently sued Katy the pop star, alleging trademark infringement. In 2021, the courts released emails the singer had sent to her team about the designer, in which she reportedly called her a "dumb b**ch." reported that she also directed them "not to soften up or apologize."

The Australian Associated Press (via Yahoo! News) noted that, back in 2009, the designer shared a message with the singer via YouTube, begging her to ease up. "I'm absolutely no threat whatsoever to you," she reportedly said, adding, "You're a girl who has a dream just like myself. I wish you all the success but leave me to carry on my dream."

The nuns of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Of all of Katy Perry's many feuds, the strangest one has to be that time she fought with a convent full of nuns. Before the pop star got involved, the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary were already embroiled in an argument with their own Archdiocese. As the Los Angeles Times reported, they purchased their sprawling LA complex at a serious discount decades ago, and at first, 52 nuns lived there. However, as they passed away and their numbers dwindled, the Archdiocese forced them to move out. "For the Archdiocese to ... put us under a bus and run over us, I'm sorry, it was just too much for me," said Sister Rita Callanan, one of two remaining nuns. Then, the Archdiocese attempted to sell the property to a certain interested pop star.

The back and forth between the nuns and Katy Perry dragged on for years. "Katy Perry represents everything we don't believe in," Sister Catherine Rose Holzman told Billboard. "It would be a sin to sell to her." The nuns sold the convent to a restauranteur; the Archdiocese sued to reverse the sale and gave it to Perry instead.

And then ... unthinkable tragedy. As a headline by The Lily put it: "'Katy Perry, please stop,' begged a nun. Then she collapsed and died." Sister Catherine passed away in court during proceedings relating to the case in 2018, and Sister Rita alleged to Page Six that the singer "has blood on her hands."

Taylor Swift

Katy Perry and Taylor Swift's feud is the stuff of pop culture legend. At first, we only got rumblings that something had happened. In 2014, Swift told Rolling Stone that her upcoming song "Bad Blood" was about another pop star she could never decide if she was friends with. "She did something so horrible. I was like, 'Oh, we're just straight-up enemies,'" Swift said. "Watch out for the Regina George in sheep's clothing," Perry tweeted when the interview was posted online, all but confirming that she was the one Swift had "Bad Blood" with. When the song came out a month later, fans poured over lines like (via Genius), "'Cause baby, now we got bad blood / You know it used to be mad love," for clues.

Allegedly, Perry poached some of Swift's dancers for a tour. The following year, one of Swift's backup dancers dressed as a shark during a performance of "Bad Blood," possibly a reference to Perry's infamous Left Shark meme. In the summer of 2015, Swift temporarily took issue with Nicki Minaj for seemingly "pitting women against each other" in a fight about VMA nominations, and Perry tweeted out the iconic word salad, "Finding it ironic to parade the pit women against other women argument about as one unmeasurably capitalizes on the take down of a woman... ."

After years of squabbling and further insinuations, Perry sent Swift a literal olive branch (via Time). The next year, Swift invited Perry to appear in her 2019 music video for "You Need to Calm Down." Hear that, Twitter stans?

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga and Katy Perry used to be friends. They first met in a train station in Marseilles, and Perry called the Mother Monster "the next Madonna, but better." By the time Gaga released the "Alejandro" music video in 2010, however, Perry was over it. "Using blasphemy as entertainment is as cheap as a comedian telling a fart joke," the former Christian singer wrote on Twitter.

This kicked off years of spats between the two, though they supported one another when Gaga released "Applause" on the same day Perry put out "Roar" in 2013. "@katyperry excited to hear your ROAR," Gaga wrote, while Perry responded, "Claws out, paws up! Looking forward to puttin my hands up & making them touch." However, a few months later, Gaga was upset by constant comparisons between the two, including an episode of "Glee" pitting them against one another. She tweeted about Perry's familiar-seeming tour design, accusing her of ripping off hair colors and design elements Gaga had used first.

In addition (via Us Weekly), Gaga called Perry "mean" in leaked texts to Kesha about the latter's ongoing lawsuit with Dr. Luke, writing, "I know she's mean. ... She makes me angry about s**t [but] I just try to have empathy for her." Gaga apologized on Twitter when the texts leaked in 2018, and she and Perry seem to have moved past everything. "These are old texts. We've matured, gotten over the past, love each other & share deep respect. Katy is my friend and is truly a kind soul," Gaga explained.

Travie McCoy

When Katy Perry initially got famous, she found herself in a relationship with Travie McCoy, lead singer of Gym Class Heroes. She appeared in the video for the band's hit single "Cupid's Chokehold," and they co-headlined The Warped Tour in 2008, a gig Perry likely got thanks in no small part to the fact that McCoy had far more punk cred than she did at the time. However, the relationship was not to last, and McCoy revealed in an episode of VH1's "Behind the Music" (via Vibe) that Perry committed the cardinal sin of breaking up with him over email. "Someone that you are ready to spend the rest of your life with sends you a f**king email just s**ting on your whole parade. It destroyed me," he said.

As if that wasn't enough of a slap in the face, Perry later released a song called "Circle the Drain" seemingly about his issues with addiction, which, no matter how much of a bop it may be, included some extraordinarily insensitive lyrics (via Genius). To be clear, it wasn't Katy's responsibility to help him get clean, but taunting him with lines like, "You fall asleep during foreplay / 'Cause the pills you take are more your forté," sure isn't great.

McCoy got the last laugh when he told MTV News, "I heard she put out a song that's about me, or about some old habits or whatever. ... I'm just stoked that she finally has a song with some substance on her record. Good job."

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Sara Bareilles

In May 2013, Katy Perry did something nice that she often did on Twitter back in those days: promoted the work of an artist with less of a public profile than she had. In this case, she tweeted a link to Sara Bareilles' music video for "Brave," a moderately-successful song with nowhere near the cultural impact of the chart-topping run Perry was coming off of with "Teenage Dream." Along with the link, she wrote, "I heart you @SaraBareilles." The next day, Bareilles wrote back, "Heart you back, babe."

Sounds wonderful and supportive, so what's it doing on this list, right? Problem was, a few months later, Perry dropped "Roar," the lead single from her album "PRISM," and The Wrap reported that fans were quick to notice that the song sounded quite familiar. Comparison videos between "Roar" and "Brave" filled YouTube; within weeks, fans were making mashup covers, mixing the empowering lyrics and similar backing tracks from both songs. "Roar" went straight to No. 1, while "Brave" failed to reach the same success. 

For her part, Bareilles said that, if anything, she was grateful for the attention. "I was stoked. I was like, 'Great,'" she later explained (via The Hollywood Reporter). "I was like, 'You guys want to go get [mad] about something and buy my music, that's great.'" Bareilles also revealed that she had spoken to Perry during the controversy, and that they were on good terms. How "Brave" of her!


Before she shot to stardom for sing-talking about brushing her teeth with a bottle of Jack — but after she appeared on "The Simple Life" — Kesha was on the come-up when she appeared in Katy Perry's music video for "I Kissed a Girl." Both Perry and Kesha were proteges of super-producer Dr. Luke, with the latter having co-written the pop stars' hits like "California Gurls" and "Tik Tok." They seemed to get along at first; they were photographed hanging out at the 2010 VMAs, scowling in unison at Lady Gaga's infamous meat dress.

However, years later, when Kesha went public with allegations that Dr. Luke had sexually and psychologically abused her, she was left hurt when Perry was one of the few pop stars not to openly support her in her quest to be let out of her contract. Leaked texts between Kesha and Lady Gaga (via CBS News) showed that Kesha feared Perry because she was "mean," and she alleged that Dr. Luke had abused Perry, as well. As a result, Perry testified on Dr. Luke's behalf in the ongoing court battle; in 2018, court documents were unsealed revealing that she went to court and said that Dr. Luke never abused her ... even though that doesn't necessarily have any bearing on whether he abused Kesha.

Perry finally spoke publicly about the legal drama in 2020, telling the Los Angeles Times, "I believe in due process. And I also believe that only they know the truth."

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Ryn Weaver

A time-honored pop girl rite of passage is hanging out at Coachella, seeing and being seen by the who's-who of the industry, and for up-and-coming singer Ryn Weaver, her Coachella experience was a frustrating one — allegedly because of Katy Perry. Billboard reported on a since-deleted Twitter rant about Weaver's negative Coachella experience, which evidently took place in 2015, and things apparently went sour because of how Perry treated her.

The whole thing started because Perry tweeted in support of Hilary Clinton's presidential run (via Us Weekly). That set Weaver off, leading her to recount the experience at a Drake performance that she and Perry were watching with a bunch of mutual friends. "Anytime I spoke she started turning her head around pretending she heard something, then said, 'Do you hear something?' while staring at me," Weaver claimed. Perry supposedly told her whole "posse" within earshot of Weaver, "That Ryn Weaver girl is soooo obsessed with me."

After she shared her experience, the KatyCats attacked. Weaver backed off and deleted her tweets, telling one fan, "Technically I'm a Katy cat too.. Or was. I was personally victimized by Regina George tho." After releasing her critically-acclaimed debut album "The Fool" in 2015, Weaver took a long break from performing. As of this writing, the "Reasons Not to Die" singer-songwriter last released music in 2018, telling her Instagram followers that she had suffered "a very testing quarter life crisis" and what she called "a bit of an existential meltdown."

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Russell Brand

By all accounts, including their own, Katy Perry's 14-month marriage to ex-husband Russell Brand was a rocky one right from the outset. They got engaged over New Year's as 2009 became 2010 on a trip to India (via The Guardian), after a mere three months of dating; they married that year and divorced a year later. Specific details about what it was like have been scarce, but it sounds like neither was right for the other. In 2020, Perry told "60 Minutes Australia," "It was the first ... breaking of my idealistic mind." She said the relationship was "like a tornado," explaining that she liked Brand because he was "interesting and stimulating," but claimed that he didn't like being the less-successful one. 

She previously revealed to Vogue that he'd told her he wanted a divorce over text message, and that they hadn't spoken since. Brand stayed mostly mum about the dissolution of their marriage, declining to speak about her in the press. Perry, on the other hand, has been very public about how she feels about her ex, including airing out raw, emotional details about the divorce in her 2012 documentary "Part of Me" (via Marie Claire). "I did everything it took [to keep the relationship together], but it still failed," she said.

Brand finally opened up in 2021 about his side of the story, claiming that he was the one who had attempted to hold on. "I really tried in that relationship," he told fans on TikTok (via HELLO!). "I have nothing but positive feelings for her."