Back in the 1990s, it’s no secret that the Spice Girls were a force to be reckoned with. As soon as “Wannabe” came out in 1996, they became instant pop culture icons, wearing effortlessly cool but kitschy clothes. They would go on to release their own movie and a whole line of merch that’s now coveted on eBay. And we can’t forget that this time was the beginning of Posh and David Beckham, who is still one of the most famous celebrity couples in the world. At the time, they were spreading a message of girl power, which was rare in the very problematic ‘90s. But as wholesome as they appeared, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses with the Spice Girls. Here are all the sketchy things we ignore about them.
Ginger Spice gaslighting Scary Spice
There used to be a rumor that Scary Spice and Ginger Spice (otherwise known as Geri Halliwell and Mel B) had a fling back in the day! Halliwell admitted that it was true in a 2003 interview with Howards Stern, but she kept the woman anonymous. Years later, she confirmed it and said that Geri would hate it since she lives in a posh country house with her husband, but that it was a one-time thing and made them giggle. Halliwell vehemently denied this news, but many believe that she actually gaslighted Mel B. Others thought Halliwell calling the news “hurtful” was an anti-LGBTQ+ comment.
There are some problematic Spice Girls Lyrics
Many Spice Girl lyrics are a classic, but some do contain antiquated racism. In the song “Spice Up Your Life” there are shocking comments in the second verse including a reference to a “Yellow man in Timbuktu,” “kung fu fighting,” and a “tribal spaceman.” Although it was intended to celebrate diversity, it clearly did the opposite and comes off as tone-deaf in 2023. Ever since various members of the band have expressed regret, and Melanie C said in 2018 that she wanted to change the lyric in anticipation of the reunion tour.
Feuds, feuds, feuds
Boy and girl bands certainly have had their share of band member drama (One Direction, anyone?) and Spice Girls weren’t immune to it either. In an interview, Melanie C admitted being upset over a fight with Victoria Beckham. It all started at the 1996 Brit Awards when a drunk Sporty Spice told Victoria where to go. She got in trouble and was almost fired. The experience caused her to police herself in the future and become control-obsessed. In 2022, they’re still beefing, but they weren’t the only ones to feud. Mel B, when asked on a TV show about the “biggest celebrity d***head,” she name-dropped Geri Halliwell.
They proudly supported Margaret Thatcher
When they became famous, the UK was becoming less Conservative. And although people mostly celebrated Tony Blair’s election, the Spice Girls were clearly stuck in the past and literally wore their Union Jacks on their sleeves. Halliwell once proudly declared that the Spice Girls were “true Thatcherites” and called Thatcher “the first Spice Girl” and the pioneer of their girl power ideology. Additionally, Victoria Beckham expressed her support when she said, “The Euro bureaucrats are destroying every bit of national identity and individuality.” Remind you of Brexit, anyone? Since Thatcher clearly opposed feminism, this was an embarrassing moment.
That time Mel B announced a fake tour
In 2019, Mel B shocked fans around the world when she told everyone that Spice Girls would go on an Australian tour. However, just the next day she admitted on an Aussie radio show that she announced it onstage without having the other members sign off 100%. She used the bizarre logic that she was manifesting an Australian tour by putting it out there, and hopefully, the rest would follow. Today, there’s still no clear timeline for the Australia tour.
That one time Ginger Spice groped King Charles
In 1997, Charles, who was the Prince of Wales at the time, met the Spice Girls at a gala for the Prince’s Trust. Geri Halliwell horrified everyone when she infamously flirted with him, kissed him, and then grabbed his rear end! Halliwell told Rolling Stone that she pinched everyone’s bottom, and went on to describe his posterior as a “waterbed.” Today, there’s something called consent, and nowadays Halliwell backtracks, saying that she patted it instead of pinching it.
The affair Baby Spice had with Simon Fuller
Before helming “American Idol” with another famous Simon, Simon Fuller engineered the Spice Girls and their act. However, they fired him in 1997. It was all Geri Halliwell’s idea, and it was a result of finding out that Fuller was having an affair with Baby Spice, aka Emma Bunton. Many sources saw them kissing or having private moments, and Halliwell was upset that Bunton was getting preferential treatment. At times, Bunton was just a teen and Fuller was in his mid-thirties. Later on, Melanie C said that Fuller was trying to pit bandmates against each other and cause drama.
The Spice Girls’ financial backer bullied & body-shamed Mel C
As with any girl band, there was pressure to conform to unattainable beauty ideals. Mel C admitted that she was bullied by the band’s financial backer which caused her to develop an eating disorder at just 19 years old. He made offensive comments about the size of her thighs in front of the band, and at a time in the 90s when mental health awareness was pretty much non-existent.