Blake Shelton was just named People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive.”
And people are not happy.
It’s a truly silly distinction, to be sure—remember the angry hipsters who picketed the publication’s New York office in 2011, when Bradley Cooper was named over Ryan Gosling?—but always seems to serve as some sort of bizarre cultural barometer, and attract the ire of many a man-ogler.
But this year’s recipient, the country-music star and judge on The Voice, has the public in a far more justifiable uproar, given Shelton’s history of homophobic and racist comments.
In August 2016, Mr. Gwen Stefani put on his symbolic MAGA hat and voiced his support for candidate Donald Trump, telling Billboard, “A lot of people are pulling for him, no matter how much Hollywood fights it. I see people who don’t like him go and beat up people that do like him. You tell me, who’s crazy here?... I probably wish there was another option, but there’s not.” (Shelton later attempted to unconvincingly backtrack, but the cat was out of the bag.)
Shortly thereafter, Twitter users began unearthing Shelton’s disturbing history of homophobic and racist tweets. Juvenile cracks like, “Question for my gay followers…. Are skittles y’all’s favorite candy?” and “How can I be attracted to lesbians?... I’m not gay…” and “Grown men who wear Chuck Taylor’s may as well write on their fore head ‘Cucumbers turn me on!!!’”
In one of his most offensive tweets, sent in 2011, Shelton appeared to advocate violence against gay men, tweeting, “Re-writing my fav Shania Twain song... Any man that tries Touching my behind He’s gonna be a beaten, bleedin’, heaving kind of guy…”
That comment led to Shelton being called out by GLAAD in the following statement: “This is one of the judges on what’s so far been one of the most gay-friendly reality shows on television. For him to make a joke to his 300,000-plus followers about leaving a gay man ‘beaten, bleeding and heaving’ is completely unacceptable.”
Then there were the racist tweets, ones like, “Wish the dickhead in the next room would either shut up or learn some English so I would atleast know what he’s planning to bomb!!” or “Nothing says ‘Happy 4th of July’ like a airport shuttle bus driver that can’t speak a FUCKING word of English!!! To the terminal Omar!!!”
Shelton quickly deleted the offending tweets, and issued the following apology over Twitter: “Everybody knows comedy has been a major part of my career and it’s always been out there for anyone to see. That said anyone that knows me also knows I have no tolerance for hate of any kind or form. Can my humor at times be inappropriate and immature? Yes. Hateful? Never. That said I deeply apologize to anybody who may have been offended.”
Strangely enough, Blake Shelton saying “comedy has been a major part of my career” is the funniest damn thing he’s ever said.