It was the series premiere of American Idol, when 19-year-old contestant Ben Glaze told the judges – Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan and Katy Perry -- that he had never been kissed. Hearing this, Perry decided to give him a cute little peck on the lips.
So Katy Perry tricks a young boy to kiss her on her cheek and then turn her face to make it a lip kiss. Imagine the outrage if it was an old man doing this to a young girl. https://t.co/729BVRZqxB— Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj (@DeepikaBhardwaj) March 13, 2018
Since then netizens have seen criticizing Perry’s move as ‘harassment’ and slamming her for kissing the teenager.
One wrote, “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?”
Another said, “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?”
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
During a recent interview with The New York Times, Ben revealed that that kiss wasn’t exactly what he was expecting and that he was unhappy about the smooch.
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— CraigMTD (@craigmtd) March 12, 2018
“I was a tad bit uncomfortable. I wanted to save it for my first relationship," Ben shared. "I wanted it to be special.”
During his audition, Ben had revealed, “I have never been in a relationship and I can’t kiss a girl without being in a relationship.”
Perry then took the liberty (pun intended) to call Ben over to the table.
Harassment— wtdp (@wtdp) March 12, 2018
Fellow judges then started goofing around and (referring to Ben) started singing Perry‘s hit song “I Kissed a Girl”.
Ben then said “One on the cheek?” and gave Perry a smooch on the face before she quickly planted one on his mouth.
If you're ok with @katyperry using her position of power to steal a non consensual kiss on the lips from a male contestant but not ok with men abusing their position then YOU'RE 👏 PART 👏 OF 👏 THE 👏 PROBLEM #AmericanIdol— Philip 銘光 Siu (@siuphilip) March 14, 2018
“Would I have done it if she said, ‘Would you kiss me?’ No, I would have said no,” Ben continues in the interview. “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.”
Am I the only one who was seriously uncomfortable about the Katy Perry kiss on #AmericanIdol? It’s super weird and awkward and not asked for . . .— Nikki Smith (@cmsfamily) March 12, 2018
wtf katy perry literally made this boy kiss her on american idol i'm so unconfortable and it was his first kiss— dakota (@dakotahuskins) March 13, 2018
This very incident raises a series of questions. Whether it is a guy or girl, is using a teenager for publicity seems to be the main agenda of such reality shows? How do you explain if the gender roles were swapped?
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
Closer home, singer Papon recently received brickbats for kissing a teenaged girl contestant of a music reality show during a get-together for Holi. Though the girl's father later denied that she was forcibly kissed, a video clip doing the rounds of the internet implies a different story altogether.
Coming back to Ben - How is his case different from the girl in the Papon controversy? Will you term it as sexual harassment ? Tell us what you think in the comment section below.
Feature Image Credit: ProFM