Katy Perry Under Fire for Forcing Kiss on Idol Contestant

Some are calling the move 'predatory'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2018 2:16 PM CDT

Katy Perry is in hot water for forcing a kiss on an American Idol contestant—and not just any kiss, but his first ever. Benjamin Glaze of Oklahoma, now 20, was 19 when he auditioned for Idol last October and revealed to judges before starting in on his song that he had never been kissed: "I've never been in a relationship. I can't kiss a girl without being in a relationship." Perry told him to come over to the judges' table, where a hesitant Glaze said, "One on the cheek?" before kissing Perry on the cheek. She convinced him to try again, but as he went for her cheek, she turned and pecked him on the lips, causing him to fall to the ground still holding his guitar while shouting, "Katy! You didn't!" Before starting his song, he asked for water, noting, "It's just that I, I kinda wasn't expecting that." He made it little more than 30 seconds into his audition song before Perry stopped him; she and fellow judges Luke Bryan and Lionel Ritchie ultimately rejected him.

While rendering her verdict (video of the entire incident here), Perry acknowledged his shaky performance was "a bit rushed, and maybe that was because I sped up your BPM of the heartbeat." She and Richie urged him to practice more and "kiss a couple more girls" before auditioning again. After the audition aired during Sunday night's season premiere, some started calling Perry out; on Twitter, Mike Cernovich referred to her behavior as "predatory." The New York Times reached out to Glaze, who acknowledged he was "a tad bit uncomfortable" and that he wanted to "save" his first kiss for his first relationship: "I wanted it to be special." But, he says, he doesn't think it was sexual harassment, and he's grateful for the extra attention being brought to his music (Perry even tweeted about him). Indeed, on Twitter Monday, Glaze called Idol "the best experience." (More American Idol stories.)

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