Maybe it was a bad idea for Kanye West to make light of the Taylor Swift incident in a comical note he sent to Britney Spears Friday via Twitter.
Last Tuesday, Spears released a new song "Hold It Against Me," and it immediately reached No. 1 on iTunes. Ironically, West and Jay-Z dropped a new track, "H.A.M.," the same day, and it came in at No. 2.
West's acknowledgment of Spears' chart victory sparked a wave of reaction from both West and Spears fans. "Yo Britney, I'm really happy for you and I'mma let you be #1, but me and Jay-Z single is one of the best songs of all time! LOL," the controversial rapper wrote on his Twitter page.
Many West fans found humor in the message. "I LOLed at the 'I'm happy for you' you tweeted at Britney," Imoh "Im0h" Dexter Emah said to West via Twitter. "Nice to know you can make fun of yourself."
While Twitter was flooded with comments from fans who understood the joke, many took offense. Numerous profanity-filled tweets condemned West for again attacking a female pop singer.
"Did u ever really think u could touch Britney in sales?" Andrew "thekingofpop" Quintal wrote. "Go back 2 the dumpster u came from."
West's Spears tweet was later deleted from his page, likely due to the backlash. He explained himself in a subsequent post.
"I thought LOL signified a joke," West replied on Friday. "I didn't get the 2011 LOL doesn't signify a joke anymore memo ... LOL or something else I guess."
Fortunately, camp Spears made an effort to diffuse the situation. "Thanks for ‘letting' us be #1. Much appreciated ... " Spears' manager Adam Leber wrote on the "Toxic" singer's Twitter page.
West is a media genius. He knew this joke would prompt such an outcry. The Swift reference may have been in poor taste, but it was funny. Any good comedian will tell you that you never sacrifice a good joke for potential backlash. It comes with the territory.