More than 1,500 New Yorkers gathered today in Manhattan to mourn the death of a 32 year-old gay man, who was shot down on Friday just blocks away from the historic Stonewall Inn in an apparent act of anti-gay bias.
You Spoke Out, and Blake Shelton Listened: Country Singer Takes a Stand Against Anti-Gay Violence
Following his tweeting a homophobic joke about beating up another man for touching him, Blake Shelton learned first-hand that there are legions of blogs, internet users and his own fans who definitely do not find anti-gay violence funny. Now Shelton has sent out a new tweet that makes it clear where he really stands, saying:
I want my fans and The Voice fans to know that anti-gay and lesbian violence is unacceptable!!!!
As GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios states, "Following outrage from community members and allies, Blake Shelton took the right step in speaking out against anti-gay violence and sending an important message to his fans and viewers of The Voice."
It all began with this tweet from Shelton sent late last night:
The response online came fast, with Shelton's own fans being some of the first calling on him to apologize while outraged community members and allies alerted GLAAD to the situation and added their own voices. Not only did he initially laugh off his fans' and GLAAD's requests for an apology, he referred to those tweeting at him with the following:
Needless to say, that response didn't go over well. Shelton continued...
Shelton clearly didn't understand that the "real villain" in this situation is the truth that jokes being sent out to millions of followers and users not only contributes to an often pervasively homophobic atmosphere online, but also may be read by people who will take them seriously.
Finally, after further communication with GLAAD and escalating online anger, Shelton made it clear to his followers what he really thought about anti-gay violence:
It's a particularly important message for fans of NBC's The Voice to hear, on which Shelton is featured as a judge. Just this week, the show suddenly became one of the most inclusive reality shows on television and will feature a young gay man as a contestant who will be mentored by Shelton on the show.
GLAAD thanks Blake Shelton for sending the strong message to his fans and the public that he recognizes anti-gay violence is unacceptable, and hopes he'll be able to further lead by example by working with his young, gay mentee this season on The Voice.