This feud is an old one and even with the passing of Star Trek greats Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelly, and James Doohan, the tiff between William Shatner and George Takei continues on stronger than ever.
We have written about this one before, albeit briefly. We have covered William Shatner’s ego and the turmoil it caused on the set of Star Trek. We have also spoken about how Shatner, from time to time, has tried to make amends with those he rubbed the wrong way (most of the entire cast), most famously his relationship with Leonard Nimoy. But when it comes to Shatner versus Takei, sometimes even taking the high road doesn’t work. Eventually, the low road comes back into play.
George Takei famously opened up to the New York Times in an interview and didn’t hesitate to level accusations in William Shatner’s direction, “It’s all coming from Bill. Whenever he needs a little publicity for a project, he pumps up the so-called controversy between us.” Takei didn’t stop with that. Takei spilled his guts (again) on the “David Tennant Does A Podcast With…” He also called out Shatner for what he deemed was jealousy over the popularity co-star Nimoy was gaining. In Takei’s eyes, Nimoy was getting the bulk of fan mail and it was rubbing Shatner the wrong way since Shatner was supposedly the star of the show.
Did you think William Shatner was going to let sleeping dogs lie? Not on your life. He clapped back via his Twitter handle, “George needs a new hobby. Now he’s making things up. We never saw fan letters. That’s why there’s so many secretary signed photos.” Shatner tweeted this in August. He added, “We barely saw George. He was in once a week at most-how would he know anything? The only person with jealousy is George.”
George Takei was recently interviewed by Yahoo Entertainment, the intention was to promote two of the stories he narrates for the ebook site Serial Box. Of course, though, the conversation had to be steered around to William Shatner’s recent tweet, which Takei had a good laugh at.
“Well, you can tell by those words that he is upset, to put it mildly,” Takei says. “All that is bile. He’s had that same kind of relationship with everybody.” And if he’s said it once, he’s said it a thousand times, “Jimmy Doohan [co-star James Doohan – Scotty] used to rail at Star Trek conventions about Bill and the latest offense that he committed on him,” Takei says. “Every one of us had experiences.” Takei noted former and late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as words he lives by when dealing with Shatner, “In terms of Bill Shatner, I go by Ginsburg’s advice. Sometimes it helps to be deaf in a marriage.”
To William Shatner’s credit, he has confessed in the past to perhaps a small twang of jealousy when it came to Nimoy and the attention he was getting. He told The Hollywood Reporter in a 2016 interview that Nimoy’s popularity as Spock was causing him a bit of concern. “I remember going to the producers and wondering whether they were going to change the thrust of the show as a result of the popularity of Spock,” Shatner said. “So my anxieties were never directed at Leonard per se, it was about ‘How was the show going to go?’”
William Shatner is 89-years old. George Takei is 83-years old. Will they ever truly bury the hatchet before the other passes? Right now that doesn’t look like it will be the case but one thing can be said for their on-going feud. It keeps them both in the headlines and relevant. What’s that saying about bad press? “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” Carry on, gentlemen.