Todrick Hall apologises for "problematic" tweet about Shawn Mendes' sexuality

27 November 2018, 19:05

By Sam Prance

Todrick received backlash after speculating that Shawn may come out as gay...

Shawn Mendes recently opened up to Rolling Stone in an extensive interview about his life and career. In the in-depth piece, he discusses everything from his rapid rise to superstardom (he really went from Vine to selling out tours in just five years) to how he copes with fame (he is refreshingly candid about anxiety and smoking weed). Shawn even addressed the incessant rumours and 'jokes' that he is gay.

Shawn revealed that it's now got to the stage where: “In the back of my heart, I feel like I need to go be seen with someone — like a girl — in public, to prove to people that I’m not gay.” He then went on to add that his trolls "are so lucky [he's] not actually gay and terrified of coming out. That’s something that kills people. That’s how sensitive it is." Shawn immediately received praise for his candour.

However, artist Todrick Hall has now come under fire for a "problematic" tweet about Shawn's comments.

Todrick Hall apologises for "problematic" tweet about Shawn Mendes' sexuality
Todrick Hall apologises for "problematic" tweet about Shawn Mendes' sexuality. Picture: John Lamparski/Getty Images // Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

In response to Shawn's revelations, Todrick tweeted: "Shawn Mendes is not gay, or at least not yet. And he may never be... but one thing is certain, if he EVER comes out. I've got dibs." He then added: "Love you @ShawnMendes and your music! Hope to marry, sorry meet you some day". It goes without saying that this sort of tweet is wrong. Shawn just confirmed (again) that he isn't gay.

Here is Todrick's orginal tweet in full.

Todrick Hall's "Shawn Mendes is not gay..." tweet
Todrick Hall's "Shawn Mendes is not gay..." tweet. Picture: Twitter

Of course, it is fine to fancy Shawn Mendes but still speculating if he is gay and going to come out after he's repeatedly said that he isn't is not. These 'jokes' have a negative effect and can be harmful to anyone who's been the subject of a gay witch hunt. People should be able to exist without having their sexualities analysed and guessed. Only they can know and define their sexuality.

Todrick understandably received major backlash for the tweet with people saying things like: "if *this* is your takeaway from the Mendes profile ... fix it, jesus" and "Are you brain dead or purposely this dense?". Todrick then deleted the tweet and apologised. He wrote: "Sorry about that tweet, I tweeted between scenes trying to be supportive, but realized it was problematic."

He then added: "Was not trying to be insensitive. I assumed the hate was coming from homophobic people and didn’t think before I posted. Huge fan of Shawn clearly, and didn’t mean any harm". He also said: "Working on being more sensitive".

Read Trodrick's apology below.

This situation is important because it is a reminder that even gay men like Todrick can be guilty of getting things wrong when it comes to issues of sexuality. What's good is that Todrick acknowledged his error and apologised for it. Hopefully this incident will teach others to be more sensitive in future.

We need to put an end to these sorts of jokes. No matter their intent, they can be really damaging.