Sam Smith heckled by woman after GRAMMY performance

By Neeve Billimore, Heidi Adam, and Zoe Banda

Singer Sam Smith, 30, is suffering a backlash of abuse after their controversial GRAMMY Awards performance last week. 

On the 6th of February 2023, Smith took home the GRAMMY award for Best Pop Duo alongside transgender pop-star Kim Petras.

While many believe that the achievement should be celebrated, the negative response has thwarted the success of the collaboration, which has led to Petras being the first openly out, trans artist to win a major-category GRAMMY. 

This is an achievement that has been regarded as a momentous event in trans history.

“I’m the first transgender woman to win this award,” Petras said at her acceptance speech. She then went on to thank Smith for allowing her to accept the award.

Unfortunately Smith has become the subject of discourse that advocates for the censorship of their “evil” and “demonic” work.

The GRAMMY Awards are organized by the Recording Academy of the United States to recognise “outstanding” achievements in the music industry, and are annually presented.  They were first held in 1959. They are often regarded as the most significant awards in the music industry worldwide. 

Madonna introduced Smith before their performance, asking: “Are you ready for a little controversy?”

The performance of Smith and Petras’ song ‘Unholy’ featured Smith dressed as Satan and Petras within a cage surrounded by female dancers.

Following this performance, Smith gave yet another performance at the Brit Awards which ended with a raunchy kiss between their backup dancers and received similar complaints, over 100 of them being in the hands of Ofcom.

As a result of this discourse, Smith has become the target for verbal abuse. A video surfaced recently of the non-binary singer being verbally abused by a woman in the streets of New York.

They were accused of being a “demonic…pedophile” and told to “leave the kids alone.” The “Unholy” singer handled the situation by walking away in silence.

On the 23rd of January, Smith released a music video for their single ‘I’m Not Here To Make Friends’ for their new album ‘Gloria’, released on January 27th.

They received more backlash for the visuals within the video, people saying that the video is ‘pornographic’. People on twitter have come to defend Smith saying “If women can produce videos acting ‘vulgar’ and being ‘very sexual’, why can’t Sam Smith?”

Though, it seems , the negative response has diluted the defense of the singer, as they have been continuously ridiculed and called a “devil worshipper”. 

Smith has not publicly responded to the recent backlash, but has spoken about the abuse they got after they came out as non-binary and genderqueer during a 2019 interview with Jameela Jamil.

During a recent interview with Zane Lowe in January 2023, they said that they are “being abused in the street verbally” and have experienced being spat at in public. 

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