In a puzzling interview with Evening Standard, Liam Payne spoke on Pride month and what makes him proud — and his answer was so tone-deaf, it’s embarrassing.
The former One Direction member is one of many celebrities taking part in Adidas’ Prouder campaign, whose goal is to help LGBTQ youth. So when the publication asked him what makes him proud, he seemed to have misunderstood the significance of “Pride,” its background, and what it actually means in relation to the LGBTQ community. Instead, he answered with what literally makes him proud.
“I think since I’ve had a little boy, everything changes in life,” he said of recently becoming a father. “I’m aiming more for him to be prouder of me, and already he’s making me a better man, which I think is incredible.”
His answer is mind-boggling; does the singer really not know the meaning of “Pride?” Or was he just so doltish that he thought that was fitting answer? Regardless, queer fans were quick to drag the 24-year-old on Twitter.
I've stared at this for about 15 minutes now. What? What is this? Is this a joke? What the fuck is going on? Are we just a little branding exercise now for the potato one from 1D and other straights of note? Someone, please, lead us out of this abyss! pic.twitter.com/ncgaWXNMnp
— Caspar Salmon (@CasparSalmon) June 25, 2018
Many fans expressed their disappointment in Evening Standard for running the piece, especially because it only featured Payne and David Beckham on what makes them “proud,” rather than showcasing any, you know, queer people.
Instead of interviewing straight celebrities about what they think of Pride, why not profile some members of LGBTQIA+ community and the hard work they have done.
— Scott Bryan (@scottygb) June 26, 2018
Others were frustrated by straight allies — while we’re always grateful for allies, it’s imperative that non-LGBTQ people use their privilege to speak on educated grounds. It’s their responsibility to inform themselves on issues that affect queer people every day, and the movements that are helping to push the positive narrative forward.
“I’m all for allies vocalising their support but understand what you’re supporting,” one user wrote. “It’s not about making your children proud of you. It’s about rights you will never understand. It’s about equality you have. Check your privilege @LiamPayne and please do some research on #Pride.”
“I’m all for straight allies,” another Twitter user insisted, adding, “I think you’re all fucking brilliant. But do I give a shit about why Liam Payne having a boy makes him proud or support Pride. Fuck No!”
Fellow British publication Metro UK pointed out that the rest of Liam’s quote slightly alleviated his original sentiment, but barely. Apparently, Payne said life would be much better if we “all came together a bit more,” elaborating, “if we all aimed for a better future, it would be easier.”
The singer has yet to comment on the backlash, but is set to ride the Adidas Prouder float in London’s upcoming Pride Parade. Snooze. Thanks for the unbearably generic and functionally ignorant statements on Pride, Liam. Do some research!