Kirstie Alley’s most controversial moments
Since landing her first movie role as Vulcan Saavik in 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Kirstie Alley has enjoyed an enviable Hollywood career. As her jam-packed IMDb page demonstrates, she went on to experience success on both the large and small screens. At the movies, she teamed up with John Travolta for Look Who’s Talking, which got not one, but two sequels. On television, she joined the cast of hit NBC sitcom Cheers after the departure of original star Shelley Long, following that up by headlining her own sitcom on the same network, Veronica’s Closet.
By the 2010s, Alley’s career in Hollywood had taken a different form. She starred on the short-lived sitcom Kirstie, had a role on the second (and final) season of Scream Queens, and scored guest spots on sitcoms. Alley also got into reality TV, competing on Dancing With the Stars in 2011 and placing second on the 22nd season of the British version of Celebrity Big Brother. In the midst of this, she started becoming less known for her acting than for her contentious opinions on everything from psychiatry to sexual misconduct to politics, all of which she’s frequently shared on social media.
As a result, Alley has found herself embroiled in controversy on more than one occasion, something the pugnacious actor has, almost perversely, seemed to welcome. Read on to explore some of Kirstie Alley’s most controversial moments.
Kirstie Alley raised hackles with her stance on #MeToo
In November 2017, the #MeToo movement was gaining steam after movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was hit with numerous accusations of sexual misconduct. As women stepped forward, more men found themselves in the crosshairs of similar accusations — including Today anchor Matt Lauer. (In a statement obtained by Variety following his termination, Lauer said, “To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry … Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed.”)
In the midst of this, Kirstie Alley took to Twitter to share a decidedly contrarian point of view, insisting it wasn’t right for someone to lose a job over anonymous allegations. “What the hell is happening?” she tweeted. “We now live in a country where people lose their jobs when accused of something without proof or trial or in some cases with anonymous accusers? Can’t confront your accuser? This is bulls**t. And it hurts the real victims of abuse and innocent people.” This tweet was met by backlash from those who assumed she was alluding to Lauer, who was fired from NBC that same day after an investigation into multiple allegations. Alley wasn’t having it. “I may be mistaken (I’m not) I don’t believe I’ve ever mentioned Matt L. in ANY tweet EVER,” she fired back, calling the backlash “another example of MISDUPLICATION run a muck.”
Kirstie Alley blamed psychiatry for a mass shooting
Kirstie Alley is an unabashed adherent of Scientology. As such, she follows Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s controversial views on psychiatry, which are best summed up by Scientology-sponsored museum in Los Angeles dubbed “Psychiatry: An Industry of Death.” As a 2014 paper published in the academic journal Mental Health, Religion & Culture declared, “For decades, Scientology has waged a worldwide war against psychiatry.”
When a mass shooting at a 2017 music festival in Las Vegas led to calls for tighter gun-control legislation, Alley shared a different opinion: the problem wasn’t firearms, but psychiatric drugs. “We have to solve the mystery of Why there were no ‘shooters’ or almost 0 before the 1980s.I know one common denominator other than guns,” she wrote on Twitter. In a follow-up tweet, she added — without offering a shred of evidence — that an “additional common denominator” in mass shootings is America’s “mass usage of psychiatric drugs. A % do have side effects of VIOLENCE & SUICIDE.”
As one might predict, Alley’s theory was met with scorn and backlash, with the general consensus summed up by the response of one Twitter user who wrote, “You’re absolutely ridiculous. This is not the time for this crap.”
Maksim Chmerkovskiy waltzed out of Kirstie Alley's life
In 2011, Kirstie Alley partnered with dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy on Dancing With the Stars. While the duo appeared to be BFFs at first, their rapport subsequently hit the skids.
According to People, when Chmerkovskiy appeared on Watch What Happens Live in 2014, he confirmed he and Alley “stopped getting along,” implying Scientology was behind the rift. “I think the world of her, he said. “I’m not judging people by their religion. I’m Jewish, and you know, I don’t really believe in science fiction, but whatever.” He went on to share that he believed they “had a great relationship” when they were on the show together, but she allegedly cut ties once Chmerkovskiy began “associating with other people that she can’t be associated with.” That being said, he apparently didn’t harbor any ill will. “But I still think the world of her, and I wish her all the best,” he concluded.
While Chmerkovskiy didn’t offer specifics about what went down, RadarOnline claimed Alley felt “absolutely betrayed” when DWTS brought in Leah Remini, an ardent anti-Scientology crusader. Alley didn’t exactly refute that speculation when she later tweeted, “there is really no reason to include ‘I wish you the best’… It’s rhetorical.”
Leah Remini rankled Kirstie Alley's feathers
When longtime Scientologist Leah Remini left the church, she did not do so quietly. Not only did Remini write the bombshell-filled memoir Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, she also launched Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. The Emmy-winning A&E docuseries digs into allegations levied against the church by former members, and unsurprisingly, it has some detractors. The church fired back in an incendiary statement, claiming Remini was now “joined at the hip with this collection of deadbeats, admitted liars, self-admitted perjurers, wife beaters and worse.”
In 2013, Kirstie Alley issued a cryptic tweet that many assumed to be about Remini. “When faced w malicious gossip I take a moment to experience the loss of the person I thought was my friend… Then I say f**k em..:),” she wrote.
Later that year, Alley talked about her former friend on Howard Stern’s SiriusXM show. “When you decide to blanket statement, ‘Scientology is evil,’ you are my enemy,” she told Stern (via HuffPost). “She’s a bigot. If someone was out there [attacking your religion], would they be your friend? They wouldn’t be mine … It’s not selective, I just won’t have people in my life that are [bigots].”
The U.S. men's curling team stood up to Kirstie Alley
A random tweet that Kirstie Alley sent out while watching the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, came back to bite her in the keister. “I’m not trying to be mean but…… Curling is boring,” she wrote in a since-deleted tweet (via ET Canada). Her message did not go unnoticed by the U.S. men’s curling team, in the midst of winning their first-ever gold medal. The team fired back with a scathing response. “We’re not trying to be mean either but your movies weren’t exactly riveting theater Kirstie,” read the tweet, with hashtags including #justsaying.
The back and forth proved to be amusing for denizens of the Twittersphere, who weighed in with the usual snark. “The Twitter feud that 2018 has been demanding,” quipped one Twitter user, while curling fan Mr. T — yes, as in the A-Team star — tweeted, “Curling is cool, I Pity The Fool who don’t like Curling! Grrr #curlingiscoolfool.”
A chastened Alley returned to Twitter to declare she’d give curling “another chance!” Her tweet was received graciously by the team, who invited her to come curl with them, even offering team shirts for her and her son. “I’m in!!!” she replied.
Kirstie Alley called Oscars inclusion standards 'a disgrace'
When the 2020 Academy Awards nominations were revealed, controversy ensued due to the lack of diversity among nominees. The list was dominated by white men, and the absence of female directors in the Best Director category prompted nominee presenter Issa Rae to sarcastically quip, “Congratulations to those men.” The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences responded by introducing new “inclusion standards” for Best Picture nominees in order to better “reflect the diverse world around us.”
While the rule change was seen by many in Hollywood as a forward-thinking first step in widening inclusiveness, Kirstie Alley did not feel that way. “This is a disgrace to artists everywhere… can you imagine telling Picasso what had to be in his f**king paintings,” wrote Alley in a scathing (and subsequently deleted) tweet (via ET Canada). “You people have lost your minds. Control artists, control individual thought .. OSCAR ORWELL.” In a follow-up tweet, she wrote, “I am 100% behind diversity inclusion & tolerance. I’m opposed to MANDATED ARBITRARY percentages relating to hiring human beings in any business.”
The stars of Will & Grace don't agree with Kirstie Alley
Kirstie Alley waded into another controversy when Will & Grace stars Debra Messing and Eric McCormack commented on a story in The Hollywood Reporter about a Hollywood fundraiser for President Donald Trump. “Please print a list of all attendees please. The public has a right to know,” wrote Messing in a since-deleted tweet (via Page Six). McCormack added, “Hey, @THR, Kindly report on everyone attending this event, so the rest of us can be clear about who we don’t wanna work with.”
Alley seemingly blasted the pair. “I refuse to be part of the Hollywood a**hats who can’t see that ‘NOT working with Republicans’ is as stupid and NASTY as ‘REFUSING to do business with gay people’..STOP ACTING above the FRAY ya damn hypocrites… WE are the same species! let’s help each OTHER ya damn yahoos,” she tweeted.
After being hit by a tsunami of backlash that included critical tweets from fellow celebs Patricia Arquette and Tom Arnold, Alley issued more tweets attempting to clarify her position. Alas, she just dug herself in deeper. Finally, she apologized. “Hey if I offended anyone today, and I did, I’m sorry,” the Cheers alum tweeted.
Kirstie Alley praised Donald Trump's pandemic response
In her Twitter barrage responding to the backlash over her reaction to Will & Grace stars Debra Messing and Eric McCormack’s comments about a President Donald Trump event, Kirstie Alley insisted that she wasn’t a Republican. “People recently think I’m some kind of devout Republican, which I’m not… neither am I a devout Democrat,” she tweeted in September 2019.
Those claims of nonpartisanship seemingly went out the window the following year. While a Vox timeline of the Trump administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic shows months of missteps and failure, Alley apparently didn’t see it that way. As coronavirus began to take hold in the U.S. in March 2020, she tweeted, “Dear Mr. President, @realDonaldTrump I wanted to thank you for ur recent decorum, sincerity, & care towards us. You’re taking charge & leading in a manner needed & wanted for this country. I highly commend you for ur boundless energy & willingness to solve problems. Thank you.” Alley’s tweet earned a response from the president himself, tweeting his thanks.
Not unexpectedly, Alley was praised by the right and scorned by the left, with far more of the latter. The prevailing sentiment was summed up in a Twitter response referencing one of her box-office hits: “Look Who’s Talking Nonsense.”
Twitter Cheers-ed for Shelley Long
In October 2020, Kirstie Alley declared herself all-in on President Donald Trump. “I’m voting for @realDonaldTrump because he’s NOT a politician,” the actor wrote on Twitter. “I voted for him 4 years ago for this reason and shall vote for him again for this reason. He gets things done quickly and he will turn the economy around quickly.”
Predictably, those who opposed a second Trump term fired back, including Judd Apatow. Responding to Alley, the Knocked Up director unfavorably compared her to her Cheers predecessor Shelley Long. “Shelley Long was way funnier than you,” Apatow tweeted. Numerous Twitter users agreed, and shared their preference for Long over Alley — so much so, reported Entertainment Weekly, that #ShelleyLong began trending on Twitter.
Alley was apparently displeased. That was evident when she blocked comedian Mike Birbiglia after he replied, “You mean turn around the economy that he himself sent into a nosedive by ignoring covid and lying to the American people that it wasn’t a threat so 220k people died? Got it. I guess I don’t have as much confidence as you do in that ‘plan.'”
Kirstie Alley accused Joe Biden of using 'racial slurs'
While Shelley Long trended on Twitter following Kirstie Alley’s declaration of support for President Donald Trump, she was embraced with open arms by Sean Hannity. Appearing on Hannity’s Fox News show, he asked her to weigh in on presidential contender Joe Biden eulogizing the late Sen. Robert Byrd, who was once a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
In response, Alley flat-out called the former vice president of the United States a racist. “When your gaffes are constantly — when [Biden] said, you know, ‘You ain’t Black if you’re not voting for me,’ and, you know, these constant gaffes that have these actual racist overtones,” Alley told Hannity, referencing Biden’s controversial interview with radio host Charlamagne Tha God, when he said, “Well I tell you, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black.” (Biden, reported CNN, later apologized, remarking, “I shouldn’t have been so cavalier.”)
“And I’m like, ‘No!’ You maybe get one [gaffe] where you accidentally say something inappropriate, but it’s pretty constant,” Alley said. “I mean, it is constant, isn’t it? Those are racial slurs.”
A QAnon motto apparently ended up in a Kirstie Alley tweet
During the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election, the QAnon conspiracy theory catapulted from obscure corners of the internet into the mainstream. During Donald Trump’s NBC town hall in October 2020, moderator Savannah Guthrie summed up the bizarre and meandering belief system in a single sentence when she told the president, “It is this theory that Democrats are a satanic pedophile ring and that you are a savior of that” (via The Wrap).
As CBS News reported, adherents to QAnon are known to use the slogan “Where we go one, we go all,” often shortened to WWG1WGA. Kirstie Alley seemingly gave QAnon her seal of approval when she issued a tweet containing those exact words, along with an American flag emoji.
While QAnon believers embraced her as one of them, she was hit by backlash from everyone else. Alley, however, professed ignorance to what she had written, tweeting, “I don’t know what ‘Q’ is.” She doubled down in a subsequent tweet, writing, “Well no one in Q has been mean or hateful to me… it’s the Q haters who are acting hideous. I think I used a slogan from Q. I liked it. it sounded like something the Marines would say.”
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