In a move as tone-deaf as some of the singers vying to compete on American Idol, pop princess Katy Perry cajoled a kiss from 19-year-old contestant Benjamin Glaze without his permission. Perry, who serves as one of the three judges on the newly re-booted reality program, wields the power to move contestants on to the next round or dash their dreams of stardom based on her subjective whim.
Before the teen’s audition, Perry’s fellow judge, country crooner Luke Bryan, asked Glaze if he had ever kissed a girl and liked it (in a not-so-subtle nod to Perry’s smash hit “I Kissed a Girl and I Liked It”). The shy Glaze answered, “I have never been in a relationship and I can’t kiss a girl without being in a relationship.” Inexplicably, the much-older Perry then ordered Glaze to “come here right now.” Glaze complied and offered Perry a peck on the cheek to end the awkward encounter, but she goaded him into another kiss on the mouth.
Afterward, when asked about the kiss, Glaze said he had wanted to save his first kiss for his first relationship and wanted it to be special. He further explained that he was uncomfortable with Perry’s attention and would have said no had she asked him if he would kiss her. Naturally, the incident raised quite a ruckus on social media due to the glaring double standard exhibited by Perry’s actions, although Glaze later clarified that he doesn’t believe Perry sexually harassed him.
Perhaps in a different world, Perry’s unwanted kiss could be dismissed as poor judgment, but in the era of #MeToo, her behavior was cringeworthy to say the least. Perry has been a vocal proponent of the #MeToo movement, adding her support to the cacophony of voices in the press and on social media condemning sexual harassment in the entertainment industry.
Although Perry may have missed the memo, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the many state and local laws prohibiting sexual harassment do not apply solely to men’s harassment of women. As a result, all employees, including women who believe their beauty or power gives them carte blanche to flirt, should check their overinflated egos and libidos at the door and refrain from engaging in unwanted physical touching and other forms of inappropriate behavior in the workplace. To put it in more simpler terms, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, ladies.
Hopefully, the uproar over Katy Perry’s ill-advised kiss will encourage her to refrain from unwanted PDA in the future and serve as a lesson to other powerful women, both inside and outside of Hollywood, to leave their vixen routines at home and stick to business.