‘American Idol’ Contestant Speaks Out After Katy Perry Kiss Backlash: ‘I Do Not Think I Was Sexually Harassed’

“American Idol” contestant Benjamin Glaze has taken to Instagram to insist he did not feel “sexually harassed” by Katy Perry after the singer faced an online backlash after kissing the 20-year-old during his audition.

Glaze, who shared his first-ever kiss with the superstar, wrote on Instagram: “I am not complaining about the kiss, I am very honoured and thankful to have been apart of ‘American Idol.’ The main purpose for the show is to find stars and new music artist. I do wish I would have performed better in the moment.

“I should have picked another song to sing and calmed myself down regardless of the kiss. I should have been able to perform under pressure. I do not think I was sexually harassed by Katy Perry and I am thankful for the judges comments and critiques. I was uncomfortable in a sense of how I have never been kissed before and was not expecting it.”

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Hi everyone, I would like to clear a few things up for anyone who is confused, concerned, or angry. I am not complaining about the kiss from Katy Perry at all, doing a few news reports and being interviewed by many different reporters has caused some major questions. The way certain articles are worded is not done by me, and my true intentions are not accurately represented in every article you read about the situation. I am not complaining about the kiss, I am very honored and thankful to have been apart of American Idol. The main purpose for the show is to find stars and new music artist. I do wish I would have performed better in the moment. I should have picked another song to sing and calmed myself down regardless of the kiss. I should have been able to perform under pressure. I do not think I was sexually harassed by Katy Perry and I am thankful for the judges comments and critiques. I was uncomfortable in a sense of how I have never been kissed before and was not expecting it. My main goal is to reach people through the universal love of music and not cause strife or anger against anyone or about any situation! Please take into consideration that I don’t believe my views have been appropriately communicated through the media! Thank you to everyone who has followed me in this journey and I hope I answered a few questions. . . . . #americanidol #katyperry #music

A post shared by Ben Glaze (@benjaminglaze) on

Glaze’s comments come after he spoke to the New York Times and admitted to the publication that he found the kiss “uncomfortable.” The interaction took place on Sunday night during the series’ season premiere.

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Glaze, who was 19 at the time, never consented to the kiss from Perry, and said he would’ve refused had the famous singer asked permission in the first place.

“I wanted to save it for my first relationship,” he said. “I wanted it to be special. 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!’” he continued. “But for me, I was raised in a conservative family and I was uncomfortable immediately. I wanted my first kiss to be special.”

(For clarification, he also added then that he didn’t feel sexually harassed by Perry in the audition.) Glaze told the publication that he’s not counting Perry’s unwanted kiss as his first kiss anyway.

“It was lip contact vs. a romantic situation with someone you care about,” he said. “That’s what a real first kiss is.”

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“Have you kissed a girl and liked it?” “American Idol” judge Luke Bryan asked during the audition, referencing Perry’s 2008 song, “I Kissed a Girl (and I Liked It)”.

“No, I’ve never been in a relationship. I can’t kiss a girl without being in a relationship,” Glaze answered.

Perry, who looked like she was offered a challenge, asked incredulously, “Really?”

“Come here,” gestured Perry as the other judges (including Lionel Richie) encouraged them. Glaze hesitatingly walked over to Perry.

“What, on the cheek?” Glaze asked before he kissed Perry on her cheek.

“You didn’t even make the ‘smush’ sound,” she said, ordering Glaze to give her a second kiss on the cheek. When he went to kiss her, Perry quickly turned his head and kissed him on the lips. Glaze, visibly shocked and smiling, fell to the floor.

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The judges celebrated and high-fived one another, and Bryan asked Perry, “Did you get him?”

“Yeah I got him,” she replied.

“Katy! You didn’t,” Glaze exclaimed, smiling. “Well, that’s a first.”

Glaze ended up being cut from the show, and Perry joked that her kiss was what impeded his performance.

“I think you were a bit rushed and I think that’s because I sped up your BPM of the heartbeat,” she said.

In the current climate of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, the ill-gotten kiss sparked a lot of dissent from “Idol” audiences. Most people who weighed in believed the kiss was wholly inappropriate, and some postulated that if Perry were a man, she’d be in some serious trouble, and probably out of a job.

Others called for an end to the double-standard in society, saying that any sexual harassment is sexual harassment, no matter if perpetrated by a woman or a man.

For her part, Perry tweeted a GIF of Minnie Mouse pulling Mickey Mouse in for a kiss. She has not addressed any of the public backlash.

Representatives for ABC also haven’t commented publicly on the incident.

(You can watch part of the audition in the video, top.)

— With a file from Jesse Ferreras

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