Katy Perry Under Fire for What Some Are Calling Sexual Harassment of a Teenager

March 14, 2018Mar 14, 2018

For a contestant on this year's American Idol, two dreams were denied him by the judges. First, he didn't make it past the auditions to Hollywood Week. But more importantly, he didn't get the first kiss he wanted.

During the audition, 19-year-old cashier Benjamin Glaze, who said he worked in a grocery store to meet cute girls, revealed that he'd never kissed a girl. A few seconds later, Katy Perry surprised him with his first kiss.

“I was a tad bit uncomfortable,” Glaze told The New York Times in an interview after the incident aired on the season premiere.

Glaze revealed he was uncomfortable because he had been saving his first kiss for someone whom he had serious feelings.

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

The judges, which this year include Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie, found out that Glaze hadn't had his first kiss after a joking question from Bryan.

“Have you kissed a girl and liked it?” Joked Mr. Bryan, making a reference to Perry’s first hit single, “I Kissed A Girl.” Glaze frankly replied that he had not. “I have never been in a relationship and I can’t kiss a girl without being in a relationship," he shared.

At that, Perry stood up. “Come here,” she said to Glaze. “Come here right now.”

Visibly uncomfortable, Glaze approached the judges' table. At first, it seemed like he would only be kissing Perry's cheek. He innocently kissed her cheek when she stuck her face out.

But Perry wasn't satisfied with his chaste kiss on the cheek. She asked for another kiss, complaining that he hadn’t even made the “smush sound.”

As he moved to kiss her cheek again, Perry swung her face toward him and kissed him quickly on the lips. He was visibly upset: “Katy!” he yelled, as he stumbled backward. “You didn’t!”

In response to his objection, Perry raised her arms in victory.

See the kiss in the video below.


“Would I have done it if she said, ‘Would you kiss me?’ No, I would have said no,” he told the 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. I wanted my first kiss to be special.”

After receiving an ambushed first kiss, Glaze asked for a drink of water and delivered a lackluster audition. He was kindly rejected by the judges.

The scene, which aired on March 12th was filmed last October. Glaze, now 20, said he's considered the kiss since. He said he's grateful that it gave him more screen time. He also said he doesn't consider it sexual harassment.

However, that doesn't mean he appreciated the kiss. He shared that when he returned home, he discussed it with his friends and they came to the conclusion that it doesn't count as his first kiss.

“They agreed with me that it didn’t really count,” he said. “It was lip contact versus a romantic situation with someone you care about. That’s what a real first kiss is.”

In the #MeToo era, one has to wonder why there is a double standard for Katy Perry. If Luke Bryan or Lionel Richie had taken a teenage girl's first kiss, there would have been a general outcry. Instead, American Idol's producers ran with the kiss, using it to advertise the show.

"But as the nation re-examines sexual conduct and power dynamics in workplaces and in the media, the kiss didn’t land well with all viewers," wrote the Times.

People took to Twitter to discuss the situation.




In the same thread, another viewer wondered if Mr. Glaze’s religious convictions had been disrespected.

Representatives for ABC and Katy Perry did not respond to requests for comment.

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