Katy Perry kissed a boy, and he didn’t like it.
ABC’s American Idol revival premiered this week, and Perry is serving as judge alongside Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan. One of the most memorable incidents of the early episodes occurred when Perry kissed Benjamin Glaze, a 19-year-old Oklahoma singer-songwriter auditioning for the show.
Glaze, who auditioned with Nick Jonas’ “Levels,” introduced himself as an electronics store cashier who likes his job because it enables him to meet “cute girls,” then admitted he’d never kissed anyone before. Perry beckoned him to the judges’ table to give her a peck on the cheek. After demanding he attempt a second kiss with smooch sound effects, the pop star surprised Glaze by kissing him on the lips, sending him spiraling to the floor. Here’s footage:
On TV and on Twitter, both Idol and Perry presented this as a lighthearted TV moment. But in light of recent cultural conversations about consent, some viewers didn’t see Perry’s surprise smooch as innocent fun. One Twitter user wrote, “It was a forced sexual act. Imagine if this was from a male judge. Has @katyperry not taken anything from the #metoo movement?” Just when you thought the dead nun would be Perry’s worst PR fiasco this week!
This journey has just begun, Benjamin.
— American Idol (@AmericanIdol) March 12, 2018
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) March 12, 2018
Count Glaze among those who objected. The New York Times interviewed the contestant about his encounter with Perry, and he was not pleased about it.
“I was a tad bit uncomfortable,” Glaze told the Times. “I wanted to save it for my first relationship. I wanted it to be special.” He continued, “Would I have done it if she said, ‘Would you kiss me?’ No, I would have said no. 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.”
The audition was filmed in October, and in the ensuing months Glaze and his friends decided his shock liplock with the Witness singer didn’t count as his authentic first kiss. However, “I’m glad she did it because it’s a great opportunity to get my music out.”