03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The End of the Affair in Hollywood

Can it be true? Is there a Hollywood break-up with international repercussions happening behind the scenes? It's not that I like to gossip about relationships, but I couldn't miss this one.

On Monday morning, my Los Angeles Times greeted me with a story headlined, "Angry Stars All a Twitter." The sub-hed was, "It's now the go-to site for celebs to rant about each other," and went on to give examples of big stars going public on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere with their complaints about other stars.

Guys, I know we're in a new media landscape, but that's a real no-no. That's why you have publicists and agents and managers and whomever all those other handlers are. We're not supposed to read your name in a story about stars acting up in the morning newspaper.

The Times, clearly one of the few remaining arbiters of celebrity etiquette, rightly noted: "Indeed, there's a wide gulf between what entertainers say on Twitter and in their carefully modulated public statements." Duh. That's why people collectively pay publicists millions of dollars a year.

Yet, Kirstie Alley, Spencer Pratt, Courtney Love, Mark Cuban, Miley Cyrus, Chris Brown and even celebrity veteran Demi Moore were cited in the story for their upper case, exclamation-pointed honesty, a real no-no.

I figured all the publicists emailed the story to their clients, and packaged civility would return.

But, now there's another fissure.

On today's front page of The Hollywood Reporter is a story, "Hey Showbiz Folks: Check Your Contract Before Your Next Tweet." It begins:

Hollywood is coming down with the Twitter jitters.

There's a growing number of studio deals with new language aimed specifically at curbing usage of social-media outlets by actors, execs and other creatives. The goal: plugging leaks of disparaging or confidential information about productions via the likes of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Ooops. Now executives and creatives are being warned, too. They're supposed to be watching over the stars. Twitter, Facebook, even old MySpace are terrific promotional vehicles for Hollywood. All Hollywood needs to do is to keep human emotion in check, and the relationship can thrive.

I can imagine Louis B. Mayer or Lew Wasserman advising their stars: If you can't say something nice in 140 characters, maybe you shouldn't say it at all. Can you hear it, too?