She kissed a girl and she liked it. Then she kissed a boy and high-fived on it. But not a lot of people liked it. American singer Katy Perry whipped up a storm when she landed a kiss on an unsuspecting contest on the reality show American Idol.
When 19-year-old Benjamin Glaze walked up to the stage, the judges kicked-off a casual conversation which led to the revelation that he had never kissed a girl before. Moments before he would end up nervously performing “Stadium”, a song he wrote himself, Perry called him to the judges’ bench so she could give him his first kiss, seemingly on the cheek. But Perry wasn’t satisfied with the innocent kiss that “didn’t even make the smooch sound.” As she turned her face to land a kiss on the contestant’s lips, the other two judges — Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan — out their phones to capture the moment #MeToo died.
Neither Perry, nor the other two judges (and clearly not even the showrunners) seemed to realise what had just happened. Perry casually dropped a “Sorry,” which sounded more like a “Well, what can you do?” To make things worse, Richie and Bryan cheered her on in her moment of shame. Richie even proceeded to walk up to the still visibly uncomfortable contestant to tell him, “Your first kiss was Katy Perry. You understand me?”
Richie later added, “You’ve won everything today,” when Glaze was kicked out of the race. As if that is supposed to be some consolation. As if, having a celebrity steal away your first kiss is some sort of an achievement. Perhaps because, to those judges and the showrunners, who still decided to air the incident, the matter of Glaze’s consent wasn’t relevant at all. For while Perry patted her lips with the back of her hand like a predator who had had a taste of her prey, Glaze stood back in disbelief yelling, “Katy! No, you didn’t.”
“Would I have done it if she said, ‘Would you kiss me?’ No, I would have said no,” Glaze told The New York Times. While Glaze clarified that Perry didn’t sexually harass him, that doesn’t take away the fact that, for the 33-year-old pop singer, it is absolutely normal to kiss teenagers without seeking their consent.
Perry’s behaviour is not only inappropriate, but unacceptable. In another audition, Perry remarked, “My eyes lit up,” when 27-year-old contestant Trevor Holmes walked up to the stage. As Holmes proceeds to tell the judges his backstory, Perry doesn’t think twice before interrupting him to tell him, “You’re so hot.”
Such mischief is often exhibited by one of those predators that #MeToo and #TimesUp strive to stand up against. But maybe the outlook differs when the predator lacks a penis.
Glaze might have refrained from tagging it sexual harassment, perhaps ’cause he didn’t think a big deal of it. But there is no denying that Perry’s actions share the essence of sexual harassment. This time, it didn’t have an impact on the victim. But are we here to wait for a sexual harassment to ruin lives? Are we to turn a blind eye until a victim comes out and exposes how truly scarring it can be? And here I thought all this discourse was meant to prevent abuse, not wait for it to create more broken people, as they miserably try to piece themselves together.