The Shady Side Of Halsey

In her own words, Halsey is "just this f****ed-up stoner kid who made it." Born Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, the New Jersey native dropped out of community college when she was 19 and did lots of couch surfing before meeting "a music guy" at some party in a Holiday Inn. As she tells Rolling Stone, this chance meeting apparently led to her recording a song in someone's basement and eventually uploading it to SoundCloud. She claims five record labels contacted her almost right away, and the song was charting by the next morning. 

Halsey has since released the albums Badlands and Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, collaborated with Justin Bieber, and sold out concerts at the likes of Madison Square Garden. But this suspiciously pat rags-to-riches story is weighed down with a fair share of baggage: Halsey has been open about her struggles with bipolar disorder, a suicide attempt when she was 17, and a rather rough upbringing ("There was always sh*t being thrown").

Let it suffice to say, Halsey is a little rough around the edges. In February 2016, she was filmed freaking out on her fans. In January 2018, she was snapped seemingly snorting a "mysterious substance" on a yacht. In May 2018, she cried onstage in the wake of her breakup with rapper G-Eazy. Basically? There's no telling what the pop star will do from one minute to the next. Let's take a look at her most mercurial (and downright odd) moments over the last several years. Here is the shady side of Halsey.

​She dissed Demi Lovato (and Demi dissed back)

In June 2017, Halsey opened up about the many challenges she faces as an openly bisexual entertainer, telling Paper magazine's Kristen Stegemoeller that "pop music can often be really ostracizing." She claimed it was difficult for marginalized communities to "get the same pop music experience as people who are heterosexual or generally part of the majority," adding that "they deserve the same pop music experience."

Stegemoeller reminded Halsey that several pop songs about same-sex relationships are performed by heterosexual stars. Halsey seemed to invoke songs by Katy Perry and Demi Lovato in her response: "Oh, yeah. Bisexuality as taboo. 'Don't tell you mom' or 'We shouldn't do this' or 'This feels so wrong but it's so right.'" She called that sort of queer exploration "so f***ing damaging to bisexuality and its place in society." It didn't take long for Lovato to clap back with a dismissive tweet of her own: "You know a song is a hit when people are still talking about the lyrics two years later. #shhhhdonttellyourmother".

Now, before we're all officially bowled over by Halsey's unimpeachable wokeness, we should point out that this is the same artist who took to Twitter in 2009 to boast that she was "lookin like a hot trani mess." That tweet has since been way deleted, and Halsey profusely apologized for the gaffe, writing, "I was quoting Christian Siriano from Project Runway... had no idea it was a slur."

​She defended Quavo's homophobic remarks

Halsey stepped into some scaldingly hot water after defending homophobic comments made from Quavo, a member of the hip-hop trio Migos. Discussing the openly gay MC iLoveMakonnen with Rolling Stone in February 2017, Quavo expressed a fair amount of disdain when told that the rapper's coming out on Twitter had been met with an overwhelmingly positive reaction from fans: "They supported him?" he asked, bemusedly. Later, he suggested that coming out undermined Makonnen's act, since he hit the mainstream "talking about trapping and selling Molly. ... That's wack, bro." 

In a subsequent interview with The Guardian, Halsey said Quavo was "misunderstood" as an artist, and argued that he isn't "inherently homophobic" but just happens to be "in a tough place of trying to explain what he means." She also opined that it's unfair to expect every artist to "be equipped to be politically correct." 

After plenty of blowback over the comments, Halsey clarified (or at least attempted to repackage) her stance on the issue, reminding everybody on Twitter that she "didn't know that Quavo had made homophobic comments when I collaborated with him." As far as homophobic people are concerned, she claimed it was everybody's responsibility to "educate them," adding, "I TRY to be understanding... [and] I'm truly sorry for my misjudgment."

​She called Iggy Azalea a "f***ing moron"

Add Halsey's name to the illustrious list of artists who have piled on "Fancy" rapper Iggy Azalea. In a 2017 Guardian profile, Halsey decided it would be prudent to call Azalea a "f***ing moron" who demonstrates "a complete disregard for black culture." She ruefully added, "I watched her career dissolve and it fascinated me."

Interestingly enough, Azalea chose to sashay down the high road in her response when she broached the subject of these disparaging comments with Australian podcast Smallzy's Surgery: "It's a bit weird to bring someone up in an interview that you weren't asked about," she said, making sure to add that she's never had the pleasure of meeting Halsey in real life. Ultimately, she blamed the whole rant on the fact that  Halsey is "young." She also issued a theoretically heartfelt plea to the fellow entertainer: "I hope that she learns maybe to be a bit less judgmental when she's kind of in the same shoes." 

Furthermore, Azalea asked Halsey to try "to be a little more empathetic to people" as she learns how to negotiate the ever-treacherous world of fame.

​She called out hotels for using "white people shampoo"

It takes a unique talent to instigate a Twitter debate about hotel shampoo, but Halsey did it. In April 2018, she vented her frustration at the lack of complimentary shampoo options offered up by hotels, suggesting that all of these hair care products cater expressly to white people.

"I've been traveling for years now," she wrote (per Vox), "and it's been so frustrating that the hotel toiletry industry entirely alienates people of color." She openly lamented that she "can't use this perfumed watered down white people shampoo. ... Annoying." As The New York Daily News reports, Halsey struck back at one critic with, "How can u have lived ur entire life without knowing that people of color and white people require different hair care products?" She also apparently demanded more shampoo options in mental wards, noting that while she stayed "in a psychiatric hospital as a teenager," she noticed the conspicuous lack of hair products "for any patients who were POC." She went on to say being held in a psychiatric institution is "hard enough" without having to "feel ugly and dry n frizzy too."

​What was she doing on that yacht, exactly?

As you've no doubt surmised, Halsey is highly outspoken and all-too willing to take to Twitter at the drop of a hat. That's why it speaks volumes that she didn't immediately and vociferously come to her own defense after a curious photo surfaced in January 2018. The image features the bikini-clad star on a yacht, holding down one nostril while raising something mysterious to her nose. Now, we can't tell you with any surety what Halsey might have been doing on that big boat in Miami, but you can bet we're now singing a lyric from her hit single "Bad at Love": "I thought that she could really be the one this time / But I never got the chance to make her mine / Because she fell in love with little thin white lines".

According to Metro, Halsey was unusually sheepish when she "emerged" in the public eye a week later, photographed at LAX holding hands with her then-boyfriend G-Eazy and doing her very best to conceal her visage beneath a Saint Laurent hoodie. 

Although Halsey notably never made any official statement about the photographs one way or another, the image took on a life of its own and became a twisted meme. Meanwhile, others criticized the meme-makers for making light of substance abuse, saying, "we've lost way too many amazing people to drugs."

She's occasionally too hungover to put on her own slippers

It's a story with all the trappings of a modern-day fairy-tale — well, it features Halsey, a glorified foot servant, and a pair of comfy-looking fuzzy blue slippers. On some otherwise completely uneventful morning in February 2018, Halsey's car pulled up outside Paramount Studios, and the paps got excited. They snapped an assistant delicately placing a pair of slippers outside Halsey's car door, thus allowing the star to slide primly out of the vehicle and into the snuggly confines. Dressed smartly in a pair of rose sunglasses, Halsey donned her fuzzies while holding her smartphone and coffee cup in one hand, with her other hand jammed into the pocket of her black sweatpants. It's the ultimate "Look Ma, No Hands," and it makes for an achingly chic tableaux.

But the unpleasantly touchy Twitter minions didn't see it that way, with one disgruntled punk writing, "Where can we get ourselves a slipper assistant?" Meanwhile, publications like Metro went so far as to call it "the full diva treatment." In this case, Halsey took the ensuing hubbub in stride, taking to Twitter to share her side of the story. She proudly announced she "was hungover" and "had to shoot a TV show first thing in the morning" but sadly "only had my stiletto heels from the night before". 

Sure, we've all been there, but we admittedly wish Halsey hadn't said her assistant was "just being a real one," punctuating her tweet with the blazingly unconvincing, pseudo-feminist hashtag #WomenSupportingWomen. Let's take a moment to collectively cringe.

​She fought the paps (and the paps lost)

Lurid British tabloid The Daily Mail is seemingly obsessed with catching Halsey in seemingly vulnerable positions. In February 2018, they published a story promising that "Halsey suffers wardrobe malfunction after attendee steps on her long black dress." In August 2016, they posted the headline, "Whoops! Halsey suffers wardrobe malfunction as she skips underwear in strapless animal print dress." That's to say nothing of the May 2017 headline, "Halsey wows in a see-through black dress exposing her underwear." These are just three examples of many, and one has to wonder if there's a dedicated Halsey Wardrobe Malfunction Editor on the Daily Mail masthead somewhere.

Well, the subtle art of shade can sometimes be used to shed light on troubling cultural trends, and Halsey has demonstrated she's more than happy to call out The Daily Mail for its sketchy business practices. As for that so-called "wardrobe malfunction" at the 2018 amfAR Gala in New York, Halsey took to Twitter to announce that she "had on an entire pair of high-cut black underwear under the dress," adding that "you can't slap a censor bar over black fabric and make everyone think my p***y is out." 

In March 2018, Halsey called out the tabloid again: "I wonder if the Daily Mail will ever stop trying to put cameras up my skirt," she tweeted. To combat this problem, she even threatened to start "writing the names of charities that need attention across my crotch. Enjoy!" 

She burned The Chainsmokers... or did she?

Where to begin with this one? On more than a few occasions, Halsey may have shaded The Chainsmokers, the DJ duo/production team behind the 2016 hit "Closer," which features Halsey providing the vocal stylings. In October 2016, both Chainsmokers — Alex Pall and Drew Taggart — were under fire for quotes they'd given Rolling Stone about Lady Gaga's single "Perfect Illusion," particularly Pall's conclusion that "it sucks." Halsey subsequently entered the fray, calling Gaga an "icon" on Twitter, which may have led Taggart to tweet to Halsey: "F**k you bald b****h." Fishily enough, Taggart claimed he'd been hacked and the suspect tweet was deleted. 

In November 2016, the specter of GagaGate returned with a vengeance, with Teen Vogue reporting that "Halsey possibly shaded the Chainsmokers" after they'd performed together at the American Music Awards. The potentially shady act? Sharing photos on Instagram in which Halsey gutsily embraced Lady Gaga, and captioning one photo: "I love my dumb bald head." Hmm. Teen Vogue was equally obsessed with another potential shade-fest in September 2017: Halsey performed "Closer" by herself for the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas, though she usually performs the song with Taggart and Pall. Her introduction could be construed as a subtle dig, since she boasted she'd be skipping The Chainsmokers' section because "my part's the better part anyway." 

Was Halsey taunting Pall and Taggart, or was this a perfectly innocuous statement? Teen Vogue wagers that "Halsey may have subtly thrown some shade," but you can watch the moment and decide for yourself

She wigged out on her fans

If this isn't a full-fledged meltdown, it's at least meltdown-adjacent. While sweeping through England to take care of various publicity obligations, Halsey rankled a few fans by not bothering to hang out, pose with her minions, and sign a boatload of photographs. As a result, several of those fans reportedly took to Twitter to voice their displeasure with the pop star.

According to Page Six, two videos subsequently surfaced on Twitter in February 2016 featuring the "Sorry" singer yelling at some fans as she swashed out of BBC Radio 1. "I'm getting a lot of really rude messages right now from people saying that I'm f***ed up and I swerved you," she says in the vid. "I would never just walk by you and not meet you!" Ramping up the glam melodrama, she added: "To abuse me like that online is kind of f***ed up." 

Halsey assured the antsy crowd there was a reason for her seemingly dismissive hauteur: She'd been wholly consumed by press and interviews all day. "I have a lot more interviews to do," she lamented, "and I promise I'm going to meet people, but please don't be mean to me." According to Perez Hilton, she managed to somewhat maintain her composure until right before slipping into her car. That's when she began "straight-up screaming" at a bystander who had called out to her. 

Shortly thereafter, Halsey temporarily deactivated her Twitter account, leaving fans to wonder whether they'd pushed her too far.