Country singer Blake Shelton claims he didn't mean to be homophobic with his Tweet about a new rendition of a Shania Twain song, but the LGBT community and allies are having a hard time giving him a pass. It's not the first time that Shelton has said something somewhat homophobic, as he infamously made a Brokeback Mountain joke at the Country Music Awards, yet he has another country singer in his corner that seems to be about as out-of-place as Jodie Foster saying she'll "love Mel Gibson for the rest of her life": Chely Wright.
The out lesbian country singer Tweeted in support of Shelton today, saying: "Hey, if we all agree that words we use -- as public figures matter -- then let's not question @blakeshelton 's sincerity. He stated his position."
His position was that his words were simply misunderstood. His lyrics ("Any man that tries Touching my behind He's gonna be a beaten, bleedin', heaving kind of guy...") were not supposed to be anti-gay, he says, but, just like Kobe Bryant calling a ref the F word recently, they were. So, sincerely, he didn't mean to be homophobic and perpetuating anti-gay violence, but did those who RTed The Voice coach get that? Probably not. We all failed that mind reading course, Mr. Shelton.
This incident (and the one at the CMAs) aside, it's strange that Chely would support Blake's "sincerity" when he has previously made comments about her that were just plain dumb. When she came out a year ago this week, Blake said he didn't care that she was gay because "she's hot" (apparently you cannot be both) and also Tweeted: "Chely Wright just came out. Guess this opens the door... I Blake Shelton am a lesbian." His mocking of her public coming out garnered some negative publicity, but not nearly as much as his statements today, which is likely because of their violent nature.
Chely Wright has made many comments on how the country music community has all but shunned her since she's said she's a lesbian, and that few of her peers have reached out to her since this time last year. So what does she gain from hoping words from public figures will be taken word for word? Well, she's probably hoping for some support of her own. There is actually progress being made in the fact that Blake has apologized for his dumb comments and jokes, and that he has reached out to GLAAD and made it known he was, in all honesty and sincereity, not thinking of the repercussions and meaning his words have. Does that mean he's not homophobic? No, but it does mean he realizes that being homophobic is wrong, and he will not be getting thumbs up and LOLs from his followers and fans.
Now, if Blake and other country stars began to speak out positively about equality and attempted to reach their audiences with gay-positive messages and work together with Chely and other LGBT country musicians (they have to be out there somewhere), the sincerity would be less judged and more respected. Perhaps that's what Chely aims to do with her supportive Tweet, because she has dealt with his idiocy before. Good on ya, Chely.