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On September 1st, 2011, American pop singer Madonna attended the press conference for her director’s debut W.E. at the 2011 Venice Film Festival. Just prior to the beginning of the conference, Madonna was handed a hydrangea by a fan. Although she accepted the flowers with a smile and told the fan “thank you,” she was heard complaining about her dislike for Hydrangea to the woman sitting next to her. Madonna’s dubious remark quickly became a subject of controversy in celebrity news, leading to much online gossips and commentaries criticizing her fuss over flowers.
On September 4th, YouTuber heresandrew posted a video titled “Madonna Loathes Hydrangea,” which shows Madonna at the conference table receiving the fan’s gift and turning over to the woman next to her and say “I loathe Hydrangea, but he didn’t know that.”
The YouTube video was instantly picked up by celebrity blogs as well as online forums and social networking sites, ranging from TMZ and Perez Hilton to MSNBC, CNN Marquee Blog and Huffington Post. Within three days of upload, the video broke through a million views and continues to climb (as of September 13th).
On September 7th, Madonna’s publicist released a statement defending the singer’s remark in an interview with CNN:
“She’s entitled to like any flower she wants and she didn’t want to hurt the feeling of the hydrangeas of the world,” the rep said in a short statement. “No disrespect to the hydrangeas lovers of the world but she prefers different types of flowers.”
Following the controversy surrounding Madonna’s remark, Italian TV channel ITV tracked down and interviewed the fan who gifted the Hydrangeas, who was identified as a Ukrainian media personality named Vitalii Sediuk. In a special TV appearance, Sediuk thanked the people online who came in defense of his kind gesture and expressed his great respect for Madonna as a musician and an artist, despite the recent scandal. The video concludes with Sediuk extending an invitation to Madonna for a friendly meeting:
On September 12th, Madonna released a public response video titled “Madonna’s love letter to hydrangeas,” perhaps in reference to Jim Carrey’s Video Love Letter to Emma Stone that became a controversy less than a month prior. Starring herself with a bouquet of Hydrangeas, the video begins with a seemingly sincere apology set to the Godfather soundtrack but suddenly derails as Madonna declares: “I’m left with the fact I still hate hydrangeas! And I’ll always hate them! It’s a free country! So f**k you I like roses!”
Madonna’s response video was immediately covered by major news sites as well as celebrity gossip blogs, giving way to over 370,000 views in the first 24 hours of upload. On September 13th, the video was given the recognition of being the #1 most viewed YouTube clip of the day in Music category.
A number of parody videos have since emerged in response to Madonna’s original press conference video: