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Top 10 Most Confrontational Moments In Television

Top 10 Most Confrontational Moments In Television
VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Jarett Burke
The most confrontational TV moments brought out the worst in people.

Sometimes TV just brings out the worst in people… Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Confrontational TV Moments.

For this list, we’re looking at times when people were called out on TV – for one reason or another – and didn’t take too kindly to it, making for some epic clashes. This list just goes to show that TV is no place to settle an argument!

#10: Nicki Minaj vs. Miley Cyrus
“32nd Annual MTV Video Music Awards” (2015)


With most people, if someone said something about us in public, we’d probably choose to talk with that person in private and settle our differences. But, then again, we’re not Nicki Minaj... After Miley weighed in on a spat between Minaj and Taylor Swift in the Times, being critical of Nicki’s call-out nature, she herself was called out on LIVE TV at one of the biggest awards shows of the year. Well, we can’t say Nicki doesn’t know how to pick her shots! The incident blew up off-screen as well, making its rounds on social media, being covered in Time magazine, and even landing Minaj a spotlight interview with the New York Times.

#9: Nancy Grace vs. Missing Boy’s Father
“Nancy Grace” (2005-16)


Oh boy… this is hard to watch… While making an appearance on Nancy Grace, in an effort to help track down his missing son, Charles Bothuell IV was confronted with live news reports that police had in fact found his son after all… in the basement of his own house. Clearly, Mr. Bothuell was using his son to boost his own publicity. Nancy, stunned at the breaking news, looks on incredulously as Mr. Bothuell puts on one hell of an acting lesson in an effort to feign surprise. It’s… just… all… so… cringe worthy. In reality, Charles and his wife had kept the boy hostage in the basement, and were later charged with child abuse.

#8: Naomi Campbell vs. Reporter
“Nightline” (1980-)


Campbell, usually known for her grace and beauty, showed anything but when she was confronted with allegations by an ABC News reporter that she received blood diamonds from the former Liberian leader Charles Taylor – an all around not nice dude. Denying the claims, Campbell refused to speak on the matter before suddenly storming off the set and knocking over the camera. This, naturally, instead made people wonder if she had in fact received illegal diamonds after all. Thankfully, she was later subpoenaed to appear at Taylor’s trial for war crimes, where she admitted she received the diamonds from the Liberian leader, and her testimony helped convict him.

#7: Morton vs. Seka
“The Morton Downey Jr. Show” (1987-89)


If you can remember trashy daytime TV talk shows like Jerry Springer and Jenny Jones, then you’ll know exactly what to expect from Morton Downey Jr. Known for being highly aggressive to guests and tackling controversial subjects, Downey took an especially hostile approach to questioning adult film star Seka, trying to tie her to the mob and doubting her morals while questioning whether pornography was hurting American society. But, the last straw for Seka – before she stormed off set – came when Morton accused her of sleeping around indiscriminately before throwing to commercial and not letting her respond. Such a greasy move by Morton, but a great way to hook viewers.

#6: The Duchess of York vs. “60 Minutes”
“60 Minutes” (1979-)


How many interviews can you recall where the interviewee rolled their eyes nonstop, answered in monosyllables, wagged their finger at the reporter, demanded parts be deleted, and then ultimately walked out of the interview before returning to finish? Right... none. And that’s why this interview with Sarah Ferguson is so fascinating. Sitting down with “60 Minutes” Australia after she was busted for taking bribes from the press in exchange for access to her former-husband Prince Andrew, the Duchess clearly wasn’t in the mood to be pressed about any of it, but pressed she was… and she didn’t handle it well. But, as she says “ya gotta move forward.”

#5: Samuel L. Jackson vs. Sam Rubin
“KTLA Morning News” (1991-)


While doing press for the “Robocop” reboot, KTLA’s morning show entertainment reporter ran through Jackson’s list of film achievements, but mistakenly added a commercial starring Laurence Fishburne. While SLJ didn’t let the host off the hook for the confusion, he did manage the situation incredibly well, as it could have been much worse. After a few insults – like saying the talent pool for entertainment reporters must be really low at KTLA – Jackson eventually allowed the interview to continue; but, it was such an epic screw up on the host’s behalf that it never really got back on track. You can tell he just wanted it to end so he could go bury his head in the sand.

#4: Elisabeth Hasselbeck vs. Rosie O’Donnell
“The View” (1997-)


If these two are friends and managed to fight like this … imagine if they were enemies! The moral of the story is, it would have been better to settle issues behind the scenes rather than get into a shouting match of ‘he said/she said’ on TV. But, that’s exactly what happened after Rosie and Elisabeth got into it concerning which one of them was using facts while discussing the Iraq War. As you’ve already guessed, both of them had their own sets of facts, and refused to give any ground. The worst thing about arguing on TV is that no one wants to give in and lose face… and so no one does.

#3: Tom Cruise vs. Matt Lauer
“Today” (1952-)


When Cruise sat down with Lauer in 2005 to promote, “War of the Worlds,” we surely didn’t expect such tension between them. But, then again, intensely personal topics like religion and health are landmines at the best of times. When Lauer further pressed Cruise as to whether his marriage to Katie Holmes was a publicity stunt – and why Cruise was so vocal against Brooke Shields’ use of antidepressants – tensions between the two came to a boil. Years later, in an interview with Andy Cohen, Lauer remarked that – at one point during the interview – he wondered if he’d have to tackle or wrestle Cruise because Tom was getting so upset.

#2: Burt Reynolds vs. Marc Summers
“The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” (1992-2009; 2010-14)


When Jay Leno loses control of an interview, you know it was a train wreck. And, that train wreck came in the form of Burt Reynolds. Recently divorced from Loni Anderson, Burt didn't care for some of Jay's material on the matter and became a bit... standoffish. By the time Nickelodeon TV host Marc Summers came out, it didn’t take long before Mr. Reynolds started insulting him too. Whether brave or stupid, Summers also made a dig about Burt’s divorce and all hell broke loose – with personal insults hurled, water thrown and a pie fight finale. Not even fake hug at the end of the show could resolve the tension between these two guests.

#1: White Nationalists vs. Geraldo
“Geraldo” (1987-98)


We’re not even sure if an interview like this – featuring White Nationalist groups and members of the Jewish and African-American community – could happen on TV today. It's asking for trouble! And, trouble answered, resulting in one of the more chaotic brawls ever seen on TV – and a broken nose for the host. Now, you may be wondering why this interview was ever allowed to take place to begin with, and if it was all just a big ratings grab, and you’re not alone; as, critics of the day wondered the same thing. Geraldo, however, told People Magazine he was happy to expose these racist groups, and was doing viewers a service. What it was, we're not sure.
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