Canadian singer Shawn Mendes has been criticized for refusing to help a bisexual fan coming out to her parents.
The Stitches singer attended a pre-concert Q&A session in Oakland, California on 14 July. Videos of that meeting began circulating online shortly afterwards, but a specific interaction with a fan caught the eye of LGBTI fans.
During the Q&A, a fan came out as bisexual to Mendes and said that not many people knew about her sexuality. Her revelation was met with a round of applause and cheering by Mendes and the other fans.
The fan then asked Mendes to record a video for her ‘strict’ parents where the singer could tell them about their daughter’s bisexuality. But Mendes declined and explained his reasons behind the decision.
Shawn Mendes replies to bisexual fan
‘This is what I want to tell you, your parents are your parents,’ Mendes started telling the fan.
‘They’re going to love you no matter what you say, no matter how you say it, no matter how you look when you say it, any time of the day. Nothing I say is going to mean anything that is even close to what you saying it means to them. Okay?’
The fan tried to convince Mendes to record the video.
‘You’re their world. I cannot possibly come close to the amount of joy and happiness that they’re going to feel when they find out that you’re telling them your truth and your honesty.’
He then said: ‘I would [record the video] if I thought that it was a better thing to do, but I know in my heart that it’s not. I know your parents are going to love you even more for being honest with them.’
Shawn Mendes faces backlash for his decision
Despite his articulated reply, Mendes faced some negative backlash on social media.
Some people argued that it’s a celebrity’s responsibility to help their fans no matter what.
it is. He’s a celebrity that people look up to and with that comes the responsibility to help the people that made you famous in the first place.
— Alessia del Perry (@_katycaralana) July 19, 2019
‘He’s a celebrity that people look up to and with that comes the responsibility to help the people that made you famous in the first place,’ a fan tweeted.
Others criticized Mendes for encouraging the fan to come out to her parents.
‘Kinda uncomfortable that he assumes everyone’s parents are okay with their kids being gay tbh,’ someone wrote.
‘”they’re gonna love you no matter what” tell that to the thousands of homeless lgbtq kid’ another replied.
‘It’s not his job’
However, others understood that coming out is a personal decision and praised Mendes for how he handled the situation.
‘leave him alone wtf is he supposed to do,’ someone wrote.
I don’t remember celebrities being hired to assist their fans in their personal issues. If he doesn’t feel comfortable, then he doesn’t have to oblige, whether or not the fan looks up to him or not. His job is to make his fans happy with his music, his arts and crafts.
— andre (@crueIsalvatore) July 19, 2019
‘I don’t remember celebrities being hired to assist their fans in their personal issues. If he doesn’t feel comfortable, then he doesn’t have to oblige, whether or not the fan looks up to him or not. His job is to make his fans happy with his music, his arts and crafts,’ a fan replied.
Yeah but how is him recording a video to tell them would make her situation better?? Like if they are strict or conservative they were gonna accept her because Shawn Mendes told them to?? Lmao
— Karina (@kkelemos) July 19, 2019
‘Yeah but how is him recording a video to tell them would make her situation better?? Like if they are strict or conservative they were gonna accept her because Shawn Mendes told them to?? Lmao,’ another fan wrote.
Other Twitter users also pointed out that Mendes might be struggling with his own sexuality and not be in the position of helping someone else come out. There has been an ongoing discussion around his sexuality, with some speculating he might be gay.
He can’t do it himself how is he going to say it for someone else pic.twitter.com/ZZQbhtkUhk
— urlocaldonut @ ig ✨ (@eveestg) July 20, 2019
‘For me it’s hurful,’ he admitted in an interview earlier this year.
‘I get mad when people assume things about me because I imagine the people who don’t have the support system I have and how that must affect them.’
Mendes has long denied rumors he’s gay, but has also insisted there would be nothing wrong if he was.