Katy Perry’s inappropriate sexual behavior on “American Idol” deserves consequences

Katy Perry, current “American Idol”  judge, attends the UNICEF Snowflake Ball in 2012. Perry kissed a non-consenting contestant on the show and needs to be held accountable for her improper actions of sexually harassing this individual. (Joella Marano/creative commons)

The 16th season of “American Idol” premiered on March 11 and featured a panel of new judges, including pop singer Katy Perry. Since her debut on the singing competition television series, Perry has demonstrated inappropriate behavior, which arguably borders on sexual harassment. 

Perry, who is 33 years old, kissed 19-year-old contestant Benjamin Glaze, much to his surprise. After Perry requested a kiss on the cheek, she quickly turned her face to kiss Glaze on the lips, as reported by The New York Times. He later said in a statement, “I wanted to save [my first kiss] for my first relationship. I wanted it to be special,” according to The New York Times

As a public figure and professional, Perry should not have acted in such a manner. “American Idol” is a show watched by many, especially younger viewers, so this type of behavior is highly inappropriate.

In the wake of the “#MeToo” movement and progressive changes in the societal perception of sexual harassment, Perry must be held accountable. Kissing an individual without their consent is sexual harassment, and Perry did so on national television. Additionally, if one of the male judges acted similarly, he would be scrutinized more for such actions. It is imperative to address this double standard, as some have begun to, according to The Washington Post

“Subsequent attention on the audition sparked criticism of Perry, including calling it a ‘#HimToo’ moment and arguing that the exchange would have been considered assault had an older male judge kissed an unsuspecting 19-year-old girl,” The Washington Post reported.

Perry did not even express remorse for her actions, and even tweeted a joking GIF after the incident. In addition, the mainstream media were not harsh on her, simply disregarding the incident because Glaze claimed he did not feel sexually harassed, even though he admitted he would not have consented to the kiss if she had asked, according to The New York Times.

Perry’s actions demonstrate that there is an apparent contradiction in how the media define sexual harassment, based on the gender of the aggressor. 

In addition to kissing the teenage contestant, Perry has continuously vocalized her sexual attraction for male contestants in an inproper manner. For instance, Perry acted inappropriately toward contestant Trevor Holmes, who stole the hearts of many from his impressive audition, including Perry. 

When he first entered the room, Perry repeatedly interrupted him throughout his audition, making statements such as “you’re so hot.” When Holmes progressed to the Hollywood round, his girlfriend in the audience exclaimed, “Katy, I’m watching you.” After Holmes identified her as his girlfriend, Perry replied, “Well, it’s not your fiancé,” as it premiered live on television. 

Perry therefore acted both unprofessionally and absurdly inappropriately. Moreover, Perry exploits the perpetuating double standard of sexual harassment, due to her fame and gender. 

This double standard prevents Perry from facing consequences for such behavior. Audiences should recognize that her flirtacious tendencies and sexual behaviors have become sexual harassment and Perry should face the proper repercussions.