Singer David Archuleta—best known for finishing second on the seventh season of American Idol—has received praise for his response on social media to backlash he's received for talking about his journey to accepting his sexuality during his Christmas tour concert in Delta, Utah.
Archuelta angered some of his fans after he took a short break in the middle of his concert to share his experience coming out as a gay man and how he wrestled with feelings of personal "hatred" before accepting his sexuality.
You can hear what he said below.
David Archuleta Christmas concert Delta Utah 11/29/2022youtu.be
Archuleta's poignant words angered a fan who emailed his manager to complain, saying several people had walked out while Archuleta was talking because he had ruined their "Christmas experience."
The email reads:
“I thought the concert was incredible and David took the crowd on a magical Christmas journey. With each song the excitement built, those attending loved it and appreciated the great talent and voice that David has. I could not of [sic] asked for more up to that point."
"To go from that high to people walking out of the concert when David used what people thought was a Christmas concert to talk about his journey to being queer... they got an incredible experience but they did not pay for David to take 15 minute [sic] and ruin that Christmas experience they just had."
"I do not believe that, that concert was a setting for that to happen. We have some very upset patrons that I will [sic] dealing with today. I would hope in the remaining concerts, that would not be allowed and just allow them to have an awesome Christmas experience.”
Archuleta later posted screenshots of the email to his social media account and explained why he felt the need to address it, noting "being open about [his] journey" has helped him "find peace" while contending with a difficult touring schedule.
You can see Archuleta's post below.
“My manager received an email that I feel is important to address. This tour hasn’t been the easiest for me to do. A way for me to find peace with it is by being open about my journey."
"I am sharing something that I’ve felt I had to keep hidden nearly all my life. Because you believe your existence is unacceptable. That mindset is not healthy. So I am choosing to not hide that anymore."
"If I offend others for simply saying it’s ok to be who you are and like someone even if it’s the same sex, and people walk out of a show because they are uncomfortable that I am sharing my story of self acceptance. The person singing those songs on stage was no different from the person at the end of the show."
“I am learning to love myself and encourage others to do the same. Two years ago I was thinking ending my life was better than admitting this openly."
"If you are more offended that I say I like guys than you are that someone has felt it was better to end their life for that very same reason. I want you to think about why that makes you uncomfortable. I want to have uncomfortable conversations. That’s how you gain understanding.”
“I didn’t say anything explicit or inappropriate. If a few dozen people walk out, but there are others staying who need to know they’re not alone in this journey. It’s worth it to me."
"I felt I was alone … [that I] didn’t deserve anything good because I was queer. I hope you can see why I open up about it. It’s healing. And helps me not be ashamed of who I am like I was for many years."
“Thank you to the other hundreds who stayed last night to listen. I know it’s not a topic usually talked about and it may be uncomfortable for some. Even if it’s a journey that you may not fully understand, it means the world to me that you still were willing to listen."
Archuleta went on to say that he does not believe sharing his experience could place a damper on the Christmas spirit "unless you allow your own misconceptions to ruin it yourself." He added he is "grateful" to fans who have been so "compassionate and supportive."
Archuleta confirmed that his manager responded to the angry fan's email and told them that Archuleta would "not apologize" for using his show as an opportunity to connect with the broader community.
"I am me. And I will never apologize for it again how I did for so many years before."
"And I hope you can unapologetically and lovingly be you too. Wherever you may be on your journey.”
Many have come to Archuleta's defense and praised him for speaking out.
Archuleta grew up in the Salt Lake City suburb of Sandy, Utah, before rising to fame on American Idol. His family members raised him in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) and he even volunteered for two years as a full-time missionary in Chile.
Last month, Archuleta announced that he had taken a "step away" from religion and had dated men since coming out, walking back his previous comments about balancing his sexuality with his faith, stating that LGBTQ people "can be part of the LGBTQIA+ community and still believe in God and His gospel plan."