Katy Perry might have kissed a girl and liked it, but an American Idol contestant couldn’t say the same. The singer’s lip-smacking stunt on the popular reality TV show sent her right into the middle of a controversy involving everyone’s favorite C-word: consent.
19-year-old Benjamin Glaze took a chance at the coveted title during this week’s season premiere, and prior to his audition, admitted that he’s never kissed a girl. This piqued Perry’s interest and she encouraged him to give her an innocent kiss on the cheek. Glaze’s first kiss didn’t impress her after he failed to make the “smooch sound”, so she used this as leverage to ask for another. As the contestant went in for the kill, Perry swiftly stole a kiss on the lips, surprising Glaze as he fell to the floor in shock.
The debacle went on for another minute as Glaze attempted to calm his nerves. Watch the video below:
While Perry and the other judges found it harmless, the internet didn’t seem to think so. Responding to the popstar’s tweet about the episode, a viewer couldn’t help but point out: “It was a forced sexual act. Imagine if this was from a male judge. Has @katyperry not taken anything from the #metoo movement?”
— Molly Fletcher (@molfizzle) March 12, 2018
A majority of the arguments boiled down to changing the gender roles. There’s truth to this argument: if a 33-year-old male tricked a 19-year-old woman into giving him a kiss on television, everyone would grab their pitchforks and torches and run the guy out of a career.
However, because the genders are switched, the situation is shrugged off. A Twitter user commented, “If we want people to listen to legit claims of harassment by women, we need to end the double standards.”
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
Glaze spoke to The Independent UK regarding the incident. He admits that he never consented to the kiss, and his upbringing in a conservative family made him decide that he wanted his first kiss to be special. If she asked him to kiss her, he would’ve turned her down.
On the other hand, Glaze doesn’t harbor any ill feelings against Perry at all. His uneasiness came from the fact that he’s never been kissed and the sneaky move from the judge caught him by surprise.
“I do not think I was sexually harassed by Katy Perry and I am thankful for the judges comments and critiques,” he commented.
Meanwhile, Perry hasn’t uttered a word about regarding the commotion and for those who were wondering–no, Benjamin Glaze didn’t make it the second round.