Only on this blog would you find a crazy lady blogging about the Rwandan genocide and American Idol on the same day.
But I can’t help myself.
Because of this video, captured on the red carpet after last week’s Idol performances, and frontrunner Caleb Johnson’s use of the “R-word” to describe fans who gave him song suggestions via social media.
In actuality, there are multiple things about this video that tell me that this is not a young singer I want to celebrate any time soon. Let’s set to the side that “the girls, the hookers, the cocaine” comment (obviously meant in humor) about what he is looking forward to if he makes the top three visit home. Let’s focus solely on his use of a slur to describe people who connect with him on social media.
In case you’re pressed for time, this article nets out the offensive portion for us, the part where Caleb says:
“[Twitter] gives access to a bunch of retards to talk to me,” Caleb said, astonishingly. “I don’t really enjoy having to see somebody telling me what song I have to sing. I think at this point of the competition, I can pick and choose my own songs and represent me. I don’t need 10,000 people saying, ‘You should sing this, you should sing that. Listen to me!’ Fortunately, guys, I’m going to listen to myself, whether you like it or not.”
As a reminder, there is actually an avid campaign underway to “Spread the Word to End the Word”. So I object less to Caleb’s defamation of social media “friends” and more to the fact that he would be completely insensitive to what it means in today’s world to use that word. And his “apology” offered on his Facebook page still doesn’t acknowledge the hearts he hurts when he uses it:
“For the record that juvenile comment I made in the interview was not directed towards my fans but to the wackos that send hundreds of hate messages a day to me! You guys are amazing and I cannot thank you enough for your support. Sorry if it offended anybody it was the wrong choice of words. Also I greatly appreciate it when you guys give me song suggestions but it gets really overwhelming at the volume it comes in so please understand ! Rock on !:)”
Caleb, you were never my choice for American Idol. But I do hope that you have an opportunity soon to step outside the spotlight and educate yourself a bit on the amazing people who have moved beyond things that might have limited others to accomplish truly exceptional things in this world. As an example Caleb, go meet and spend time with my friend Daniel Smrokowski, who advocates every day and gives a voice to those with special needs. In reality, Caleb, you could turn this whole debacle into an amazing learning opportunity not only for yourself but for others who don’t understand the impact that one word, used heartlessly, can truly have.