Sam Smith proved that being an award-winning international superstar doesn’t make you immune from anti-gay abuse this week.
Sam drew attention to the sad online trolls who hide behind their computers and smartphones to spread homophobic messages by posting a screen grab of the Instagram content “We Hate Faggot Smith.”
The Grammy award-winning singer wrote in the caption to his post: “This genuinely doesn’t offend me, coz I’m way too tick (sic) skinned when it comes to this kind of shit. BUT I just wanted to share this with everyone, so you can see how homophobia is still SO PRESENT in our society!!”
The Instagram account “GaySamSmith” appeared to have been set up purely to post homophobic content about Sam, although it didn’t have any posts when Sam took the screenshot and it has since been deleted.
Since coming out to the public in an interview last year, revealing that his album In The Lonely Hour was inspired by an unrequited crush he had on a man he knew, Sam has spoken about being on the receiving end of homophobic abuse from a young age.
“A bunch of boys from a rival school would shout insults at me as I walked from my home to the train station,” he told The Sun. “I remember walking to the station getting ‘faggot’ shouted at me all the time.”
However, even back then, Sam knew that the problem lay with the other boys and not with him: “I knew these people were stupid, uneducated twats. But I was upset as I was with my friends and I wondered if they were embarrassed to be walking with me because people are (sic) hurling abuse. I hated the fact my friends had to listen to that.”
The singer should be applauded for responding to the abuse in such a calm, measured way and for using his social media clout to shine the spotlight on homophobic trolls.
“I can speak about this from a position of power, compared to two years ago where it would have been pissing in the wind. It wouldn’t have gone anywhere,” Sam said of his ability to reach out to others who may be experiencing anti-gay abuse or struggling to come to terms with their own sexuality.