Kelly Clarkson Refuses to Be Bullied By Clive DavisMeghan O'Keefe

I love trying to figure out who female empowerment break up songs are actually about.

Like, Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” is probably inspired by John Mayer or Harry Styles, Alanis Morissette’s “U Oughta Know” lines up with her traumatic break up with Full House star Dave Coulier and Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” has got to be about her experience working under music mogul, Clive Davis.

Okay, okay, okay…Kelly Clarkson and Clive Davis were certainly never romantically involved, but they did have a messy professional break up after the “disappointment” of her third studio album, My December. 

Back in 2009, their feud over the album hit the tabloids. Now, Clive Davis is releasing a memoir where he dishes on Whitney Houston’s substance abuse, his bisexuality and how horrible Kelly Clarkson is because she argued with his opinion and cried in his office once. In response, Clarkson wrote an impassioned essay on WhoSay that basically called Davis out for slander, and in response to that post, Davis said that his book was “fact-checked”.

To be quite honest, I don’t really care who said what and who cried what tears over the course of their professional relationship. Stuff happens when creative people with strong opinions about their work get together and millions of dollars are at stake. People cry. Arguments happen. Blood feuds emerge. I’m sure both are remembering things the way they personally remember them happening. I bet that Clarkson passionately disagreed with Clive Davis and that Davis was horrified that an artist would have the gall to question him.

That’s not what’s interesting about this story.

What’s interesting is that it all boils down to the question of what can a person do if they feel they are being bullied by their boss.

Clarkson stated that the reason she took to WhoSay to state her version of the events is “I refuse to be bullied and I just have to clear up his memory lapses and misinformation for myself and for my fans. It feels like a violation.”

Clarkson isn’t just setting a story straight. She’s standing up to one of the titans in the music industry–and that’s important.

Look, a lot of people want to be stars. It’s why we have singing competition shows like American Idol. It’s why people give up everything to move to Hollywood. It’s why some people change everything about themselves from their names to their appearances in order to be better liked by audiences and industry moguls.

A lot of people are talented enough to be stars, but it’s moguls like Clive Davis who decide who gets the opportunity to be offered to the public as such.

Because of this, singers, actors, writers, and other creative types can very often be bullied into doing things that make them feel less than comfortable just for the chance to have a job.

For instance, pretty much every actress (including myself–and I’ve never even been a professional performer) has been told to lose weight or they wouldn’t get roles. Mila Kunis was famously told by a producer if she didn’t pose for a sexy magazine she’d never work again. In Clarkson’s case, she reportedly had her opinion as an artist undermined by her boss, but to make matters worse, that boss publicly humiliated her.

There’s no reason for the public to dislike Kelly Clarkson. I mean, she’s always come across like your older sister’s best friend. Meaning, she’s friendly and nice and you know she must be intrinsically cool because your sister hangs out with her, but you don’t know her well enough to know anything particularly private or crazy about her. She just comes across as a genuine human being who speaks her mind and photobombs at the Grammys.

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  1. I watched a bit of Clive Davis’ interview on Katie Couric’s show. I couldn’t finish watching it because of the way Katie was gushing over him. I found him to be a creep. I don’t care how old he is, or what supposed wonders he has worked in the music industry. He seemed to be overly proud of the fact that Janis Joplin “wanted” to sleep with him, but he refused her. He thinks far too highly of himself and it shows. No wonder he creates drama with people who don’t follow his lead and gush over him.

    Oh and as a side note, he spray paints his hair on his head. Tell tale sign of a desperate creep.

  2. Very well said! In my opinion, your take on the situation is spot on. The fact that there even was a power struggle & not the actuality of who is right or wrong within that struggle, is the cause of the current public bashing & defending. Kelly Clarkson had the audacity to say “No, I will not just roll over” & Clive Davis is having a hard time with the fact that a young, at the time aspiring, singer would stand up to him.

  3. I’m sure it was: “Davis is enraged that Clarkson dared question his opinion” . This kind of people tend to do that when another person doesn’t agree with them.