Before there was The Voice, there was the original singing competition show, American Idol. Since The Voice has become so popular, American Idol has tried to revive their image to the public. They recruited top performers Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan and Katy Perry as judges. But in only the first few weeks of air time there has already been major controversy, with Perry herself being at the center.
Katy Perry had a Left Shark moment last week. The 33 year old pop star caused an uproar after stealing a kiss from a 19-year-old contestant on the show, Benjamin Glaze. Perry received major backlash from the media for this act. CNN even released the video on during their air time. Some have asked why this young man wasn’t ecstatic seeing as he was able to kiss a famous star. But there was more to the story than Perry failed to find out. And at a time when women are fighting so desperately for sexual assault and consent to be taken seriously, many are verbalizing their issue with her actions.
Benjamin Glaze had been quoted saying “I know a lot of guys would be like ‘Heck yeah!’ but for me, I was raised in a conservative family and I was uncomfortable immediately.” In this video it is clear, the discomfort literally knocking Glaze off of his feet, and not in a good way. He initially went in for a kiss on the cheek after Perry insisted. After one kiss on the cheek she asked for another. This time she quickly turned and stole one from him on the lips. Glaze later revealed he wanted his first kiss to be “special” when he was in a real relationship.
Glaze has been quoted saying, “Would I have done it if she said, ‘Would you kiss me?’ No, I would have said no.” He also reported not feeling sexually harassed by Perry. He stated that he is not complaining about the kiss between them and that he was grateful for his time on the show.
I had watched a few other videos of Perry during young men’s auditions and her flirtatious interactions with contestants even made me feel uncomfortable. And after reading statements from Glaze, I thought of what the reactions would be if the roles were reversed. If one of the male judges had done the same action to a 19-year-old girl or if they were as flirty as Perry, there would be even more controversy in the media. Why is that? Is there a double standard that maybe even Glaze himself is taking part in?
The #MeToo movement has caused many female celebrities in particular to call out those who have caused them harm in the past. But the truth is that countless individuals regardless of social status, age, or gender are affected daily by sexual harassment. Perry has claimed to be a part of this movement, but her actions have come across paradoxical. If we want any merit to be held against these acts, we must hold ourselves accountable to the same standard. If we are demanding respect, we too must give it. If we are preaching consent, we too must ask for it also.