Conversations around sexual harassment and consent, very evidently, have amplified of late. The Me Too campaign and everything that followed later ensured that celebrities too spoke up against it. It would not be an overstretch to say that people today are not only more aware but also are more vocal about it, both while being subjected to sexual harassment and when being privy to it. Perhaps this explains the outrage that followed on social media when singer Katy Perry, current judge of American Idol kissed a teenage boy without consent.
During the audition, 19-year-old Benjamin Glaze revealed to the three judges – Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan and Perry that he had never kissed anyone. Hearing this Perry asked him to come to her and, after letting him kiss her on her cheek, “tricks” him and kisses on his mouth. This act is not being seen in a good light by people on social media.
While one wrote, “Imagine if a 33-year-old male artist tricked a 19-year-old female auditioner into a kiss like Katy Perry just did with that teenage guy. Would we all think it was cute?” another wrote, “Anyone else watching Idol feel like Katy Perry pressured that poor kid into letting her kiss him on the cheek and violated him by planting one on his lips? Would not have been okay for a male celebrity to do to a young girl.”
The argument remains that if the gender roles were swapped, this act would have been deemed as sexual harassment. And while one can always defend it as entertainment, the question remains where do we draw the line?
Here’s how people reacted to the incident
Imagine if a 33 year-old male artist tricked a 19 year-old female auditioner into a kiss like Katy Perry just did with that teenage guy. Would we all think it was cute? #AmericanIdol
— Craig M. Tiede (@craigmtd) March 12, 2018
— wtdp (@wtdp) March 12, 2018
Am I the only one who was seriously uncomfortable about the Katy Perry kiss on #AmericanIdol? It’s super weird and awkward and not asked for . . .
— Nikki Smith (@cmsfamily) March 12, 2018
Anyone else watching Idol feel like Katy Perry pressured that poor kid into letting her kiss him on the cheek and violated him by planting one on his lips? Would not have been okay for a male celebrity to do to a young girl. #americanidol #katyperry #mencanbesexuallyharassedtoo
— Heather Campbell (@Niblet81) March 12, 2018
Ok, let’s be real for a minute: If Katy Perry was a man and that American Idol kiss happened to a woman, it would be sexual harassment, right? If we want people to listen to legit claims of harassment by women, we need to end the double standards. My 2 cents.
— Anna Baglione (@AnnaBaglione) March 12, 2018
wtf katy perry literally made this boy kiss her on american idol i’m so unconfortable and it was his first kiss
— dakota (@dakotahuskins) March 13, 2018
If you’re ok with @katyperry using her position of power to steal a non consensual kiss on the lips from a male contestant but not ok with men abusing their position then YOU’RE 👏 PART 👏 OF 👏 THE 👏 PROBLEM #AmericanIdol
— Philip 銘光 Siu 🇬🇧 (@siuphilip) March 14, 2018
So Katy Perry tricks a young boy to kiss her on her cheek and then turn her face to make it a lip kiss. Imagine the outrage if it was an old man doing this to a young girl. http://t.co/729BVRZqxB
— Deepika Bhardwaj (@DeepikaBhardwaj) March 13, 2018
There is another video where Perry rather unabashedly calls a male contestant hot.
During American Idol, a contestant named Trevor Holmes, walked in and Katy Perry was instantly captivated by him. Katy couldn’t stop looking at him and blurted out “You are so hot.” 😂 pic.twitter.com/pwnizPuEhX
— The Pop Globe 🎤 (@ThePopGlobe) March 13, 2018