The stolen kiss is an iconic romantic moment, celebrated in literature, films and popular culture. But sexual harassment law and feminist outrage has dictated that it is, when unwelcome—immediately or later—sexual assault serious enough to warrant national shunning, social isolation, media condemnation and a marred career and reputation.
On this week’s premiere of the rebooted “American Idol,” a 19-year-old cashier Benjamin Glaze prefaced his audition by telling the judges that he had never kissed a girl. “I have never been in a relationship and I can’t kiss a girl without being in a relationship,” he said.
Pop singing star Katy Perry beckoned the shy young man. “Come here. Come here right now,” she said.
Perry was using her stardom, her superior status, and the glare of the TV lights to exert power over the young man. This is often the modus operandi of workplace predators.
When Glaze come over to the judges’ table, she thrust her face toward him. making an obvious demand. “On the cheek?” he said. The singer smiled in response. Glaze tentatively touched his lips to her cheek, but Perry complained that it wasn’t sufficient, that he hadn’t even made the “smush sound.” He began to kiss her again on the cheek, but Perry quickly kissed him squarely on the lips. “Katy!” he exclaimed. “You didn’t!” Ms. Perry raised her arms in victory, like she had scored a winning goal.
Remember, Perry once said in a video, “I’m automatically attracted to beautiful…I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.” Oh, I’m sorry, I got confused for a moment. Candidate Donald Trump said that as part of his macho, locker room pig-boast caught on tape, for which he has been assailed by feminists ever since, and called a sexual predator, although he has never been seen on coast-to-coast TV kissing any woman without warning or consent.
OK, now what? That kiss by Perry was sexual assault, and the “Idol” judges were gleeful about it. Glaze didn’t let Perry off the hook, either, by saying he was thrilled. He made it clear that Perry’s kiss was unwelcome.
“I was a tad bit uncomfortable,” Glaze told the Times. “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!’ But for me, I was raised in a conservative family and I was uncomfortable immediately. I wanted my first kiss to be special.”
The kiss was unwelcome. There was no consent. It was sexual assault, by definition. Now what? Not very long ago, an episode like this would be considered, without exception, as a cute and harmless event. Oh no you don’t! Not any more. Uh-uh. If Katy Perry can get away with kissing a young man who didn’t want to be kissed because of who she is, then so can any middle aged male boss, or movie star, or rich guy. It was just once and “she didn’t mean anything by it”? Not part of the rules, and no exception. We have been listening to angry celebrity women lecturing us for months now that such sneak attacks are always, always, unconscionable, even when the victim of the stolen kiss—no, wait, survivor!—was originally receptive and changed her mind decades later because of flashbacks, or post-traumatic stress, or the desire of her friends to defeat a politician they don’t like, or something. One way or the other, the miscreant must pay, and pay big time, with his reputation and his career. Those are the rules, or so we were told.
So if Perry, who has proven herself a potential sexual predator, is allowed to remain on the show, it must mean…
a) #MeToo doesn’t apply to powerful women, only men…or
b) #MeToo doesn’t apply when the assault occurs in front of millions, but when it is based on the single account by a woman that is denied by the man decades after the event and without any witnesses at all, that is enough to demand that the man be fired…or
c) #MeToo doesn’t apply to beautiful female pop stars, because the welcomeness of the stolen kiss is presumed, regardless of what the victim says…or
d) #MeToo applies when it can be used as leverage for power and to intimidate and depose men, but not when calling an assault an assualt would undermine a female ally of the movement…or
e) #MeToo applies when feminists and activists and Hollywood social justice warriors choose to have it apply, and it doesn’t apply when its inconvenient…or
…something else. I could write these forever.
I checked to see what Ann Althouse had blogged about this, as I was sure she had. Sure enough, she wrote in part…
“When I saw this Katy Perry kiss on “American Idol,” I said, “He should sue her.”…He clearly stated a principle that deserved respect and that, I would think, gives respect to women, the kind of respect #MeToo proponents would seem to want….But he does not have a relationship with Katy Perry, so she is ordering/tempting him to betray his own principle. She has power to make a decision he wants, so right before our eyes, we’re seeing something like the Harvey Weinstein situation. If you don’t like it, why don’t you just leave? Glaze’s response is something like the way many women reacted to Harvey: play along a little to humor him, and maintain your dignity by not giving too much…”American Idol” chooses what footage to include in the final edit, and they must have liked this. I’m sure they have their lawyers, and I’m guessing, now that I think about it, that they got full, explicit consent from Glaze before airing this clip. But that doesn’t explain why they thought we would like it, and why — in #MeToo times — they’d promote their big star judge Katy Perry like this. How could they think we’d just love this and not feel that this decent young man had been violated?”
Glaze shouldn’t have to sue, and his damages are minuscule and perhaps unquantifiable. Perry should be fired, and the entire #MeToo mob should insist on it—all of them: Reese Witherspoon, Senator Kristin Gillibrand, Monica Lewinsky, Gwynneth Paltrow, every single one of them. I’m sorry for Katy, just as I was sorry—a bit—for some of the men who were caught in the cultural shift. She’s 33, and was raised to believe that stolen kisses were sexy and romantic, now immersed in a culture where sex is no big deal. and she’s used to men always being grateful for her attentions…just like Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Matt Lauer, Ben Affleck all the other disgusting male sexual predators. But what she did, on TV, is exactly what we have been told will not and must not be tolerated.
Will it be tolerated, or not? If Perry doesn’t go, then it means this movement has no integrity, and is just expedient, cynical political grandstanding—as I have suspected.
Make no mistake: I do not care for stolen kisses. I have never stolen a kiss in my life, though I have been Perryed a few times. I think they can be assault; I am certain that in the workplace, they are harassment. I also think they can be mistakes, or honest misunderstandings, and thus believe that that the no-tolerance approach promoted since the Harvey Weinstein Ethics Train Wreck started rolling is unfair and excessive. I didn’t make the current standards, though: the indignant and angry women did. Now I want to see them show some integrity, or, in the alternative, admit that developing relationships aren’t as simple as they have been claiming for political gain.
40 thoughts on “The Stolen Kiss: By #MeToo’s Standards, Katy Perry Sexually Assaulted Benjamin Glaze On TV. NOW What, Feminists?”
Isn’t Katy married? Kinda makes it worse if the kiss thief is already in a relationship.
She was married to Russell Brand for about 14 months. That’s about it. Her sexual politics are very liberal, so it should come as no surprise that she would want to embarrass a strait-laced, conservative guy who was dumb enough/gullible enough to say on the record he wouldn’t kiss someone he wasn’t in a relationship with. Katy Perry just proved herself to be no better than the drunk sorority girls who wander around the party and hit on everyone, even the geeks, to embarrass them, or the vamp who uses her sexuality to embarrass, humiliate, and make a fool of others.
As a relatively ordinary-looking guy who was never a chick magnet, I can grasp only too well the embarrassment the guy must have felt. He knows he’s nothing all that great and that the hotties won’t fall all over him, but this hotty is pretending to do so just to make the point that he is a strait-laced, boring guy who the women rightly turn their noses up at, and his talk of being in a relationship and committed is probably wishful thinking, because the best looking girls are already having passionate sex with the guys with six-pack abs and the rest would rather hold out than have underwhelming sex with a loser and have to admit they “gave it up” for anyone who was other than the highest standard of physical attractiveness. This guy’s going to be a 40yo virgin, and Katy made that clear, in view of the whole world.
Are we looking at the same person? I’m not a woman, but I really think you have a gross misunderstanding of what women find attractive. Look at that smile! Those eyes! He’s an objectively handsome young man, and pretty talented too even if he does need to practice more. The guy may not be a body builder, but he’ll be perfectly successful with the ladies if and when he wants to be. (Honestly, and I hate to say this, but I got a bit of a gay vibe from him. I know he says he hasn’t kissed a girl because of his background, but that’s often an excuse and part of the denial for young gays who aren’t out yet. That’s another part of what made this scene uncomfortable to watch.)
Your comment also carries the implication that men who don’t have six-packs should hold out for the “best looking girls” but it’s wrong for women to do the same? That doesn’t make sense.
Katy Perry may not realize it, but she’s following in the footsteps of one of the most evil classic villains in all of anime. Witness this iconic scene and compare:
Pretty traumatizing, EC! Maybe a trigger warning next time…
Ah, sorry. Trigger warning: Japanese sound effects, mild guitar riff, and PG-13 sexual assault.
As humorous as the meme has become, this scene is signature significance for Dio. Well, this scene and anything else he’s done in his long career of villainy. He essentially started out as a passionately evil (or evilly passionate?) psychopath, and just happened to be able to acquire terrifying powers some time after this scene.
The fact that Katy Perry’s action is so similar to an action that was used as a defining moment of “evil and creepy” should give her pause. I hope someone sends her this video.
I got my wife via stolen kiss, so there’s no way I can give unbiased commentary on this episode. 😉
We have been listening to angry celebrity women lecturing us for months now that such sneak attacks are always, always, unconscionable, even when the victim of the stolen kiss—no, wait, survivor!—was originally receptive and changed her mind decades later because of flashbacks, or post-traumatic stress, or the desire of her friends to defeat a politician they don’t like, or something. One way or the other, the miscreant must pay, and pay big time, with his reputation and his career. Those are the rules, or so we were told.
Can you please give an example?
By that I mean an example of any “angry celebrity woman” who has tried to get someone’s career ruined over a stolen kiss. I can’t think of any.
No, Trump doesn’t count—you’re ommitting the crucial context of the “I just kiss ‘em” comments, which also included such classics as “Grab ‘em by the pussy” and “I moved on her like a bitch.” Where’s that context here? And last I checked, Trump didn’t have his career ruined after that.
For the record, I’m not a fan of stolen kisses either. In both long-term relationships I’ve been in (which also encompasses the number of first kisses I’ve had—huh, I’m more conservative than I thought), the girl asked first, then I went in for the kiss. I think Perry’s actions were inappropriate (if it wasn’t staged—it looked awfullly artificial to me, but these things always do). Possibly harassment. “Sexual assault?” I feel like that should be reserved for conduct that is actually, you know, sexual.
How do you define whether unwanted contact is sexual or not? I’d consider forcing a kiss to be sexual assault, because it’s a physically intimate act.
Perhaps one of the lawyers here can help with this, but my impression is that ANY touching, if unwanted, can constitute sexual harassment, at the least. I quit offering a hand to shake to women 10 years ago in business dealings.
It CAN be. Unwanted touching is always battery, a tort.
I quit offering a hand to shake to women 10 years ago in business dealings.
That’s ridiculous. Are there any recorded cases of someone being disciplined or sued for sexual harassment over a handshake?
I concur with Chris about handshakes. Handshakes are (in theory) voluntary, and if done properly aren’t nearly intimate enough to be anywhere close to sexual in nature.
Yes, there are. In fact, I’ve read a deposition in a case where it was repeatedly brought up. The case was against a friend, and the Fortune 50 company he worked for.
What was the result of that case?
It was settled for “go away” money, not “here’s your lottery winnings” money.
It is. By definition.
You can do your own back research; most of the alleged examples of sexual assault and harassment have been words only, or mere touching, both of which are LESS substantive than stolen kisses. Some of Trump’s accusers allege attempted kisses. Attempted kisses are less substantive than successful attempts. (Duh.) Your weird spin is based on the delusion that kissing isn’t sexual, and thus mot sexual assault. The law and society does not agree.
But here are some examples….see how nice I am?
Now you can find all of the accounts of women who claim to be #MeToo victims, and the defiant proclamations that men will never be allowed to get away with such abuse of power again.
You can do your own back research; most of the alleged examples of sexual assault and harassment have been words only, or mere touching, both of which are LESS substantive than stolen kisses.
Break down this sentence for me. “Words only,” by definition, cannot be assault, as that sentence implies. They can be harassment. And touching can be more substantive than stolen kisses, depending on what kind of touching it is.
I also already said Perry’s actions could be harassment.
Some of Trump’s accusers allege attempted kisses.
OK. And have they specifically used the term “assault” in their accusations? Have they pressed charges based on those accusations? Perhaps your links will answer those questions. (Spoiler alert: not one of those articles uses the term “sexual assault” to describe attempted kisses.)
Your weird spin is based on the delusion that kissing isn’t sexual, and thus not sexual assault. The law and society does not agree.
Some kisses are sexual, some are not. Society certainly agrees with me on that. You do, too, of course.
Now let’s look at those articles you linked to:
The Vox article details allegations of “sexual misconduct” against Franken by six women, most of which describe events much worse than what Perry did. Only one of the six is quoted as using the term “sexual assault,” and it’s not even clear if she’s saying the term applies to what happened to her or if she thinks Franken was joking about sexual assault. The article itself never uses that term except when quoting Tweeden.
The Blast.com story describes the treatment of Cara Delevigne by Weinstein “sexual harassment,” not “sexual assault.*
Neither the Mediaite article nor the Daily Beast article about the former Miss Utah describe Trump’s unsolicited kisses as “sexual assault.” The Beast says “unwanted sexual advances,” not “sexual assault.”
The Snow Sports Culture describes the unwanted kissing of a minor by her coach, accompanied by this:
She testified Charest kissed her on the lips when she was 16 and told her everything would be different if she were 18.
The woman, who is the fourth alleged victim to take the stand since the trial began last week, also testified that Charest told her more than once he wished he could be her first lover and that it would be a memorable experience.
Yes, that’s sexual assault.
The last link is a story about a driver kissing a woman who has passed out. That’s definitely assault.
But it’s the Washington Examiner article that is truly your worst example: it describes a woman who says that Trump leaned in for a kiss, but who also said she wasn’t “offended” nor “threatened.” The article doesn’t dispute her characterization at all. Why on earth would you trot that out to prove that angry women call unsolicited kisses sexual assault?
So out of the seven articles you linked to, only two are about sexual assault, and not one of them even remotely suggests that Katy Perry’s conduct could be adequately described using that term. Terrible.
For the record, if the genders were flipped, and it were, say, Adam Levine interacting with a female singer, my position would be exactly the same: inappropriate, possible harassment, but not “sexual assault.” Maybe if she stuck her tongue down his throat, then yes. But not this peck. That’s ridiculous.
It’s law, Chris. I’ve explained this before. If one is placed in unwanted anticipation of unwanted touching, that’s assault. If the touching occurs, its battery. If the touching is sexual in nature, or taken as such—kissing on the lips is sexual per se—then the adjective “sexual” goes in front. This isn’t a matter of debate. It’s the law. And the definition of sexual misconduct in that form is assault, whatever is alleged or what words are used.
You are just wrong on the facts and the law. You can call it a “peck” if you want: it is exactly the kind of sexual misconduct being used to make politicians resign and to fire professionals. And in the workplace, such a “peck” is always harassment if unwelcome. Always.
Here’s an experiment. Give someone an unwanted kiss on the lips at work and then explain it’s not sexual. See how that works for you.
Excellent use of the scientific method.
I can’t believe anyone is really arguing that a kiss on the lips isn’t sexual. Astounding.
What do you call the kiss Michael Corleone seized and planted on brother Fredo? (I have my own name for it – just curious about others’ calls.)
I KNOW it was you lucky. You broke my heart…YOU BROKE MY HEART!
Anywho, Victor Ray (Bruno Kirby in “The Freshman” [an entertaining flick if you haven’t seen it]) you’s call it the Bacio di tutti baci… the kiss of all kisses.
This wasn’t at work.
Sure it was. Katie Perry and Benjamin Glaze are both compensated for being on the show. They’re supervised by the same people. They both have contracts with the production company.
In fact, the hostile work environment had an immediate effect. Perry did this right before Glaze’s audition, which failed. he certainly has a viable argument that her assualt, unwelcome, made his performance more difficult, and theoretically preventing him from moving on in the competition.
I didn’t know auditioners were paid; that changes the equation. In that case, I’d say he’d have a harassment case if he wanted to pursue one. I still don’t see any chance of him winning a sexual assault case, though.
1. It’s a workplace environment whether he was paid or not.
2. It would be sexual assault, workplace or not.
Yes it is.
It is Katy Perry’s job screening auditioners for future work.
This is literally casting couch ethics.
It is indeed. you would not want to insult one of three judges who hold your fate in their hands.
And by literally I mean figuratively or analogically.
I don’t think you understand what assault means.
No contact required, just the threat of it coupled with a perceived ability to carry it out. You can look at that definition and see several ways that one can be assaulted without ever being touched.
Does he really look like someone who has just been assaulted? He literally does an animated, cutesy pratfall right after. I wouldn’t be surprised if this entire thing had been staged and agreed to beforehand.
Oh, that’s a great point, the well-established “you have to LOOK like you’ve been harassed” test.
Why are you so desperate to spin this?
Because ANOTHER progressive narrative has been shown to be unethical, unfair, unproductive, and outright predatory.
Yer killin’ their world bubble, Jack.
When I’ve been affronted or caught off guard offensively, I’ve been described as appearing remarkably cool by others…whereas I know internally I was seething.
Granted, the counter-argument to this would be that it would have been harassment if Glaze had said it was, and the fact that he didn’t interpret it as harassment is just moral luck. You may be right about this. My first instinct was that to call this “sexual assault” trivializes the term, but I find myself less and less able to rebut your arguments as this conversation goes on.
Stipulated: It was inappropriate, gross, not cute and not fun. We would be a better culture if people did not act like this was a cute and fun thing to do. (Honestly, the worst part of the video for me was watching them reject him after the kiss–that was humiliating.) I still feel like the word “assault” is ridiculous when applied to this situation, but at this point I admit I can’t back that up with anything more than a feeling. Point: Y’all.
He said it was unwelcome, ergo it is harassment by definition. He doesn’t know what harassment is. Hell, that law professor who said “Oh Come ON!” didn’t know. If it is unwanted sexual contact that makes him uncomfortable, and he said it was, then his incorrect labeling means nothing. Zip. Nada.