She may be a world-famous popstar, have millions in the bank, and even wear cherry chap stick, but as seen on the two-night season opener for the new “American Idol,” even Katy Perry cannot just casually sexually assault a male contestant on camera and just be all “Swish Swish” about it.
When 19-year-old Benjamin Glaze, a cashier from Enid, Oklahoma auditioned for the ABC talent show, he had hoped he would be given the opportunity to showcase his talent and perform in front of the judges, which included the “I Kissed a Girl” singer, as well as Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan.
Glaze, just like many young and aspiring hopefuls who had auditioned there that day, dreamed of being recognised for his singing ability and craft, and not to be violated. But instead, he was bullied into a situation in which a senior person of wealth, privilege and power used their authority to physically objectify an unassuming innocent person, who merely just wanted to audition and exhibit their talent.
If you were thinking this kind of scenario wouldn’t be amiss from a typical Harvey Weinstein casting couch session, then you wouldn’t be too far off, however, the incident in question involved an older female degrading a young male to the status of a mere sexual object, and the response of said sexual harassment couldn’t be any more different.
In the segment which was watched by 8.4 million viewers, the young performer was shown waiting around in anticipation for his audition with other hopefuls.
After he entered the studio with guitar slung over his shoulder and looking a little bit star struck, he said he enjoyed his work as a cashier because it let him meet “cute girls.”
“Have you kissed a girl and liked it?” asked Luke Bryan, making a subtle reference to Katy Perry’s first hit single in which the lyrics suggest homoeroticism and the appropriation of lesbianism (even though Perry is in fact a heterosexual). There’s that gay agenda, again…
Anyway, Glazer responded awkwardly and said that he had not. “I have never been in a relationship and I can’t kiss a girl without being in a relationship.”
Perry then stood up from behind the judge’s panel and instructed the young auditionee to “Come here”, “Come here right now” she adamantly said again, as the 19-year-old made his way over to the panel.
Katy Perry then stuck her face toward him, indicating that she wanted him to kiss her on the cheek. “One on the cheek?” he shyly said
He quickly gave her a faint peck on her cheek. Unhappy with his response, she asked for another kiss, complaining that he hadn’t even made the “smush sound.”
As he moved toward her cheek again, Perry quickly swung her face toward him before he could react and kissed him on the lips. “Katy!” he yelled, as he stumbled backward. “You didn’t!”
Katy Perry then raised her arms in victory. Despite being physically violated on worldwide television, the young hopeful was not successful in the audition and was rejected by the judges, including by the perpetrator, Katy Perry.
Now, imagine if the roles of power were reserved. Try and visualise if one of the male judges had forced one of the younger female contestants to kiss them on the cheek and then proceeded to kiss them on the lips without their prior knowledge and consent. The mass hysteria and outrage would be palpable.
Hashtags would set Twitter ablaze as calls, petitions and boycotts grew for the male judge to be sacked from his position.
Pussyhat protests would be staged all over the world, with banners and placards demanding equality while screaming in unity that “all men are rapists.”
The male judge in question would be forced to go into public seclusion. Never to be seen or heard from again, and forever be tainted as a sexual predator, and have to list himself on the sex offenders register.
Yet, when that audition aired, there was no anger or fury. Feminists were not publicly condemning Katy Perry sexually assaulting a young man against his own will, and there most certainly was not any call for her to resign from her position, either.
The silence from the #MeToo and #TimesUp social commentator’s, who are normally very active and outspoken was deathly silent… And by their silence and lack of action it has set the tone and of the position of privilege and acceptability in a society that is clearly unequal, but not the unequal and oppressed narrative that western feminists have tried to portray.
In a modern 21st century society, it is okay and perfectly acceptable for a female to sexually assault a male.
“I was a tad bit uncomfortable,” Glaze has since publicly come out and said. The aspiring singer, who had never been kissed before, told the media “I wanted to save it for my first relationship. I wanted it to be special.”
“Would I have done it if she said, ‘Would you kiss me?’ No, I would have said no,” Glaze continued. “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.”
Katy Perry has made no official public statement regarding the incident but during the airing of the show posted a GIF of Minnie Mouse aggressively kissing Mickey Mouse while tagging Glaze, suggesting that to her, it was all just a laugh.
Yet, if a male perpetrator had suggested or indicated that it was all “just a laugh” he would be fined, and reprimanded, then jailed and forever be known as a sexual predator. Even if it was just a kiss on the lips.
Benjamin Glaze has since clarified his previous statements via Instagram, saying that he doesn’t feel as though he was “sexually harassed” by the popstar. However, the kiss is not the issue here (despite it being a clear violation) but instead, the commentary and reaction (or lack there of) afterwards, as well as the social acceptability and privilege of a woman in a situation of power is.
Had it been a man, they would not be allowed to post a GIF and then just laugh it off.
It would be hypocritical to think that a 19-year-old male being kissed by a 33-year-old female without giving consensual permission on television, is any better than if the gender roles were reserved.
But just like western feminism, when it comes to what is acceptable and what is not, they are seemingly just “Hot n Cold”.
Story by Michael Lee
Featured Photo Credit: The Cut