Fans defend Sam Smith in wake of ‘I’m Not Here To Make Friends’ video controversy

Sam Smith

Sam Smith‘s music video for their new single ‘I’m Not Here To Make Friends’ has courted controversy online.

The visuals see the singer arrive at a stately home in a helicopter before dancing in a variety of flamboyant outfits alongside a large troupe of backing dancers, but has faced criticism from some for its apparent sexual nature.

Some argued that the video is evidence for why age restrictions should be added to music videos. “5 year olds can search this up and watch this with no content restrictions!” one Twitter user complained.

Smith, however, has been widely defended by their fanbase and others, who have argued that criticism levelled towards them is not only unwarranted, but homophobic and transphobic in nature.

“Sex has always been a running theme in modern pop music, and music videos often flaunt it,” wrote journalist Owen Jones. “But Sam Smith has made the criminal offence of being a) queer and b) not skinny, and in an increasingly anti-LGBTQ culture, that can’t be tolerated.”

Many pointed out that the video would not have caused such a moral panic if it had been a cisgender, female popstar in it, and many videos by such musicians have been more sexualised without anyone batting an eyelid. “If a straight white cis woman popstar did what sam smith did there would be no problem,” said academic Dr. Charlotte Proudman. “People just don’t like that Sam is queer, plus sized and unapologetic about it.”

Elsewhere, Aidan Moffat wrote: “There are thousands, if not millions, of far more sexually explicit pop videos than that Sam Smith one. Most of them will feature young girls. It must be exhausting being so hateful all the time. And to be so utterly terrified of difference.”

The news comes off the back of Smith admitting that they face more transphobic abuse in the UK than they do abroad. “Just the amount of hate, and shitness [sic] that came my way, was just exhausting. And it was really hard.

“What people don’t realise, with trans non-binary people in the UK, is it’s happening in the street. Like I’m being abused in the street, verbally, more than I ever have. So that was the hardest part, I think, was being at home in the UK and having people shouting at me in the street.”

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