For many young men inexperienced in romance, having one’s first kiss with none other than Katy Perry would presumably be a welcome prospect.
Not so for Benjamin Glaze – a 20-year-old from Oklahoma who showed visible discomfort when kissed by the pop superstar as she served in her new role as a judge on talent show American Idol.
Glaze explained on an episode broadcast this week that he had never kissed anyone before and had wanted to save the experience for a relationship.
His remark came after country star Luke Bryan, a fellow judge on the show, phrased as a question one of Perry’s most famous lyrics: “Have you kissed a girl and liked it?”
Perry beckoned over Glaze and invited him for a kiss, which he delivered on her cheek. She followed up by quickly smacking him right on the lips. Blaze voiced shock and stumbled through his song before being dismissed by the judges.
Watch it here:
Perry’s forwardness, while in line with the playful behaviour of television personalities, triggered a flurry of commentary on social media – with some accusing her of se-xual harassment amid the newfound focus on consent in the #MeToo movement.
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
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
Speaking to The New York Times, Glaze said he was raised in a conservative family and had felt “uncomfortable immediately” as “I wanted my first kiss to be special.”
As the story generated growing commentary, Glaze on Wednesday went to Instagram to criticise the media coverage and said he was not complaining about Perry.
“I do not think I was se-xually harassed by Katy Perry and I am thankful for the judges comments and critiques,” he wrote.
“I was uncomfortable in a sense of how I have never been kissed before and was not expecting it.
“My main goal is to reach people through the universal love of music and not cause strife or anger against anyone or about any situation!”
See his full post:
Hi everyone, I would like to clear a few things up for anyone who is confused, concerned, or angry. I am not complaining about the kiss from Katy Perry at all, doing a few news reports and being interviewed by many different reporters has caused some major questions. The way certain articles are worded is not done by me, and my true intentions are not accurately represented in every article you read about the situation. I am not complaining about the kiss, I am very honored and thankful to have been apart of American Idol. The main purpose for the show is to find stars and new music artist. I do wish I would have performed better in the moment. I should have picked another song to sing and calmed myself down regardless of the kiss. I should have been able to perform under pressure. I do not think I was sexually harassed by Katy Perry and I am thankful for the judges comments and critiques. I was uncomfortable in a sense of how I have never been kissed before and was not expecting it. My main goal is to reach people through the universal love of music and not cause strife or anger against anyone or about any situation! Please take into consideration that I don’t believe my views have been appropriately communicated through the media! Thank you to everyone who has followed me in this journey and I hope I answered a few questions. . . . . #americanidol #katyperry #music
Katy Perry has not yet responded to the backlash she has recieved nor to Glaze’s clarification on Instagram.