American singer Katy Perry has been criticised for kissing a 19-year-old man without his consent on reality television series, American Idol.
Teenager Benjamin Glaze said he was a “tad bit uncomfortable” when Perry, 33, who is a judge on the show, kissed him on the lips without asking permission before his audition kicked off.
Glaze, who had never been kissed before, said he had hoped his first smooch would be “special”.
“I wanted to save it for my first relationship,” he told The New York Times.
“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.
“Would I have done it if she said, ‘Would you kiss me?’ No, I would have said no.”
The incident occurred after Perry’s fellow judge, country singer Luke Bryan, asked Glaze if he had ever kissed a girl before.
“Have you kissed a girl and liked it?” Bryan said, referencing Perry’s hit song ‘ Kissed a Girl.
“No I’ve never been in a relationship,” Glaze said. “I can’t kiss a girl without being in a relationship.”
An incredulous Perry then interjected, “Really? Come here.”
Clearly uncomfortable, Glaze attempted to protest, “No wait hold on,” but Perry was relentless, demanding he “come here right now” before presenting her face to be kissed.
Glaze obliged by kissing her on the cheek, but Perry was not satisfied and demand a do-over. When Glaze went back in to kiss her, she moved her face at the last minute so he landed on her lips.
The stunned teenager fell to the ground in shock, while Perry high-fived her co-stars.
Many viewers said they felt uncomfortable about the forced kiss, especially when taken in the context of the growing #MeToo movement, a social media campaign to raise awareness about the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault.
“If a male judge did this, it would be called assault and harassment. There needs to be a proper response to Katy Perry’s abusive behaviour on American Idol,” author Samantha Ettus wrote on Twitter.
“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,” Twitter user Anna Baglione 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? #AmericanIdol
— Craig M. Tiede (@craigmtd) March 12, 2018
After the outrage, Glaze was quick to clarify his comments on Instagram, writing that he did not think he had been “sexually harassed”.
“I am not complaining about the kiss from Katy Perry at all,” he wrote.
“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.”
Perry is yet to comment on the controversy, except to tweet a short clip of cartoon character Minnie Mouse enthusiastically kissing Mickey Mouse with the hashtag, “#BenjaminGlaze”.
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) March 12, 2018