A recent episode of American Idol (that was taped in October) has caused some serious controversy, even though the show seemed to play it off as a lighthearted moment.
It all started when 19-year-old Benjamin Glaze came for an audition in front of Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan.
Bryan asked Glaze, “Have you kissed a girl and liked it?” (in reference to Perry’s breakout hit), and Glaze revealed he’d never been kissed. He said that he really wanted his first kiss to be meaningful: “I have never been in a relationship and I can’t kiss a girl without being in a relationship.”
This journey has just begun, Benjamin.
A kiss for good luck from @katyperry and you’re on your way. #AmericanIdol pic.twitter.com/k9YYLkLcXM
— American Idol (@AmericanIdol) March 12, 2018
Perry then jumped up and said, “Come here. Come here right now.” As she motioned her face toward his, Glaze asked, “On the cheek?” After the two touched cheeks, Perry asked for another kiss because their first didn’t make a “smush sound.” He went to kiss her on the cheek, and she quickly turned and kissed him on the lips. He yelled, “Katy! You didn’t!”
In an interview with The New York Times, Glaze explained how uncomfortable it made him: “Would I have done it if she said, ‘Would you kiss me?’ No, I would have said no. 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. I wanted my first kiss to be special.”
As the Times notes, it’s proven to be a divisive moment:[lborder]
The first kiss of an aw-shucks teenager from Oklahoma, delivered by a superstar singer, might have made for a sweet pop-culture moment in a previous era. But as the nation re-examines sexual conduct and power dynamics in workplaces and in the media, the kiss didn’t land well with all viewers. “It was a forced sexual act,” one viewer posted in reply to American Idol’s tweet: “Imagine if this was from a male judge. Has @katyperry not taken anything from the #metoo movement?”[/lborder]
ABC and Perry didn’t issue a comment when asked by the paper.