Reminder: Grabbing Male Performers Without Their Consent Is Also Creepy and Wrong

Adam Levine has faced backlash for the way he reacted to being grabbed by a fan, but he was absolutely in the right

Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs live on stage at Allianz Parque on March 1, 2020 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performs live on stage at Allianz Parque on March 1, 2020 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
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Last weekend, a fan jumped onstage during Maroon 5’s performance at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles and grabbed frontman Adam Levine. A video of the incident, in which a visibly annoyed Levine can be seen cursing and backing away while security removes the woman, has gone viral on TikTok, but surprisingly, the singer has faced criticism over his reaction, with fans on social media claiming he thinks he’s “beneath them” or somehow ungrateful for their support — so much so that on Tuesday, he felt compelled to address it on his Instagram Stories.

“I just wanted to address the Hollywood Bowl incident thing, a fan coming up to me onstage,” Levine said. “I have always been someone that loves, respects, worships our fans. Without our fans, we don’t have a job. I say that all the time, to our fans. To think that anyone would believe that I thought that our fans were beneath us, or less than us, makes my stomach turn. That’s just not who I am. That’s not who I’ve ever been.”

“So I just need you guys to know I was really startled, and sometimes when you’re startled … you have to shake it off and move on,” he continued. “Because I’m doing my job up there. And it’s what I pride myself on, so I need to let you guys know what my heart is, and my heart is that connection that exists between the band performing onstage and the fans.”

It’s absolutely insane to try and assign any sort of blame to Levine for reacting the way he did. Grabbing someone without their consent is never okay. It’s hard to believe that Levine would be facing the same scrutiny if he were a woman; thankfully, we’ve reached a point a man grabbing or groping a woman without permission is no longer socially acceptable, but it’s important that we all realize it’s just as creepy and wrong when the roles are reversed. Why would we ever expect Levine to grin and bear it? Performers, no matter who they are or what gender they identify as, are not ours to touch, and the fact that some people feel entitled to the body of a stranger simply because they happen to be on a stage and within reach is frankly disgusting.

Levine’s not the only recent example of people getting handsy with male performers. A six-year-old video of a woman being kicked out of a Disney theme park after putting her hands on the chest of a man dressed as Gaston from Beauty and the Beast has gone viral again after resurfacing on TikTok. The actor playing Gaston had every right to be angry and remove her; again, would there be any debate over this if, say, a male guest at the park cupped Belle’s breasts while posing for a picture with her?

Unfortunately, we don’t talk enough about the fact that men are also frequently victims of sexual assault or harassment. (According to RAINN, 1 out of every 10 rape victims are male.) The antiquated, heteronormative belief that men are “supposed to” enjoy any and all sexual advances from women — or the notion that it’s somehow “impossible” for a woman to assault a man — is unfortunately still prevalent. Hopefully, celebrities like Levine can spark conversation and de-stigmatize the issue. Until then, please remember that no human being deserves to be grabbed without consent and keep your hands to yourself.

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