Can Someone Tell Katy Perry Consent Is Important, Please?

March 15, 2018

“Would I have done it if she said, ‘Would you kiss me?’ No. I would have said no,”

Katy Perry is many things; a talented recording artist, a judge on American Idol, and apparently, someone who doesn’t understand consent.

The 33 year-old pop star is making headlines for kissing 19 year-old contestant, Benjamin Glaze, during his audition.

In this audition, one of the other Idol judges joked and asked Glaze if he’d ever kissed a girl and liked it, referencing Perry’s 2008 hit song.

Glaze said he hadn’t.

I’ve never been in a relationship. I can’t kiss a girl without being in a relationship,” he answered, to looks of shock and disbelief from Perry. 

“Come here,’ Perry said, and beckoned for Glaze to approach her as the other judges – Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie – got out their phones to take pictures.

Glaze kissed Perry on the cheek.

“You didn’t even make the ‘smush’ sound!” joked Perry, and she directed him to give her a second kiss on the cheek.

When he made the move to kiss her, she quickly turned her head and kissed him on the lips. Glaze fell down, shocked and smiling while the Idol judges cheered and high-fived.

Bryan asked Perry if she ‘got him.’

“Yeah, I got him,” she smiled.

Ah, what a wonderful night of entertaining television. All in good fun, right?


In an interview afterwards with the New York Times, Glaze described the kiss as ‘uncomfortable’, said he didn’t consent, and would have refused if Perry had asked him.

“I wanted to save [my first kiss] for my first relationship. I wanted it to be special,” he said.

“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,”

And those are the key words here; “I would have said no.”

Glaze has added that he doesn’t feel like Perry sexually harassed him during his audition, but those who watched the segment on Idol weren’t okay with what they saw happen between the young singer and Perry, and took to Twitter to raise their concerns.

While some people were clearly outraged by the event, others didn’t quite see what all the hubbub was about, saying the kiss was no big deal and that the whole event was just ‘outrage culture’. 

Many people are pointing to Glaze’s own admission that he didn’t feel sexually harassed as reason to leave well enough alone and move on, but I’m a bit hesitant to lean that way.

Because he also said the encounter was uncomfortable for him. He also said he would have said no if he’d been asked.

And those people who are outraged on Twitter raise some more important points.

There absolutely would be outrage had this exchange occurred between a 19 year-old female singer and an older male judge.

Reverse the genders in this exchange and the creep-factor would rise, leaving an icky feeling in the stomachs of the women who watched the segment who are all too familiar with unwanted male attention or advances.

I know, because I’ve been there.

When I worked at a supermarket while I was at college, I was on the shop floor when I greeted an older customer who was perusing the aisle near me.

A few moments later, he came up to me, grabbed me by the shoulders and lightly kissed me somewhere between my cheek and lips, and said “have a nice day” before leaving the store.

I still get goosebumps when I think about it. It made me feel uncomfortable. I would have said no if he’d asked me. And while I can say I absolutely feel like that man sexually harassed me, even if I didn’t say or feel that, it doesn’t make it any less true. He crossed a very clear line by doing something to my body I didn’t consent to.

And I believe the same goes for the Glaze and Perry situation.

I absolutely disagree with the notion that because Perry is attractive and successful, Glaze should be thrilled to have her kiss him against his will.

I think it’s wrong that there is a double standard.

If the #MeToo movement means anything, it’s that instances like this one in which someone has their consent ignored and steamrolled should be called out as inappropriate.

On the other hand, I don’t think this is a crucify moment for Perry. I’m not suggesting we light our torches, sharpen our pitchforks, and chase after her like an enraged mob – which in 2018 means spew abuse at her through the internet and ruin her career.

But she needs to publicly apologize and say she understands she crossed a line here and kissed Glaze without his consent.

She needs to privately apologize to him for making him uncomfortable.

And everyone needs to look at this situation – just like the Aziz Ansari incident – and finally understand what consent is and why it’s important.

Images and media via shuttershock, twitter and youtube.

Comment: What’s your reaction to the Katy Perry American Idol kiss? Was it poor taste?

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