Fans stepped up to support singer Sam Smith after the racy video for "I'm Not Here to Make Friends"—the latest single from their fourth studio album Gloria—was mocked by bigoted trolls.
Smith is nonbinary, uses they/them pronouns and has gone on the record about what a relief it's been to embrace their newfound identity after "a lifetime of being at war with [their] gender."
All of this is quite evident based on the video for "I'm Not Here to Make Friends" which shows them wearing a corset and nipple tassels while performing with backup dancers. Smith's appearance makes it quite clear by wearing these clothing items they've come to terms with the feminine aspects of their nonbinary identity.
You can see the music video for "I'm Not Here to Make Friends" below.
But not everyone is happy.
The BBC noted many of Smith's detractors believe the video is "over sexualised."
Indeed, many of these critics came out of the woodwork to decry Smith's appearance.
\u201cApparently this change is hard fought for \u201cprogress\u201d. I do think Sam Smith needs some serious help instead of being paraded like a vulgar character from Little Britain.\u201d— Chris Rose (@Chris Rose) 1674941611
\u201cYouTube does not have any age restrictions on Sam Smiths degrading sexualised new music video. \n\n5 year olds can search this up and watch it with no content restrictions!\n\nSam Smith, this is not art. This is not trendy. This is not empowering. This is monstrous! #SamSmith\u201d— Oli London (@Oli London) 1674935956
\u201cWTF happened to"Sam Smith." The extreme and vulgar measures he has taken to get attention is appalling and disgusting. Whatever happened to singers who were just singers bc they had talent?\u201d— glorys\ud83c\udfba\ud83c\udfdc\ufe0f\ud83d\udc97\u26f5\ufe0f\u271d\ufe0f (@glorys\ud83c\udfba\ud83c\udfdc\ufe0f\ud83d\udc97\u26f5\ufe0f\u271d\ufe0f) 1675010177
\u201cIt is vulgar...Sam Smith has a great voice, but his video is a offensive. I certainly don't want my child to see it.. Less is more Sam. How can this been seen as "empowering" is beyond me. A sign of this crazy times if someone thinks that's good! \n #GMB\u201d— Carla (@Carla) 1675065369
Fans were not having it however.
They were quick to come to the singer's defense, saying criticisms are rooted in homophobia, transphobia and fatphobia.
Many pointed out Smith's appearance is nothing new when one considers the work of the late glam rockers David Bowie and Freddie Mercury and even current pop star Harry Styles, who all challenged gender norms in their respective performances.
\u201cI was going to ask \u201cwhat has sam smith done to deserve this amount of hate directed at them\u201d but it\u2019s quite literally that they\u2019re queer and fat isn\u2019t it. that\u2019s what it comes down to\u201d— das \ud83c\udf3f (@das \ud83c\udf3f) 1675002990
\u201cSex has always been a running theme in modern pop music, and music videos often flaunt it.\n\nBut Sam Smith has made the criminal offence of being a) queer and b) not skinny, and in an increasingly anti-LGBTQ culture, that can\u2019t be tolerated.\u201d— Owen Jones (@Owen Jones) 1675074029
\u201cI finally watched the Sam Smith video and was like "that's...it?!"\n\nFreddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon were in full joyful drag in the I Want To Break Free video almost 40 years ago. In the middle Freddie is writhing with ballet dancers. Ya bunch of prudes.\u201d— Sooz Kempner\ud83d\udc00 (@Sooz Kempner\ud83d\udc00) 1675080203
\u201cPeople are kicking off saying Sam Smith\u2019s video shouldn\u2019t be allowed on YouTube\u2026but millions of people watching Andrew Tate\u2019s misogyny is fine? Make it make sense.\u201d— Dr Charlotte Proudman (@Dr Charlotte Proudman) 1675071913
\u201charry styles, a straight man shows femininity and wears dresses in videos and gets praised for it, sam smith a non binary person does the same and is misgendered and shamed. social media makes me sick\u201d— :/ (@:/) 1674993502
\u201cSo women artists can make explicit music videos, as can straight men, for decades there can basically be soft porn in mainstream music & that's all harmless hetty fun but now Sam Smith does it & suddenly it's perverted grooming filth. HELLO HOMOPHOBIA & TRANSPHOBIA!\u201d— Dr Finn Mackay Adult Human Queermale (@Dr Finn Mackay Adult Human Queermale) 1675004487
\u201csam smith serving it to you\ud83d\udd25\ud83d\udd25\ud83d\udd25\ud83d\udd25\ud83d\udd25\u201d— jes\u00fas (@jes\u00fas) 1674850015
Smith seemingly posted his own response.
Posting a photo of himself captioned "Never too much."
Gloria was released earlier this week, garnering generally favorable reviews from critics.
Kenny Ethan Jones, a trans advocate and writer from the United Kingdom, believes Smith is entering an era of "embracing their queerness" adding "Sam's doing God's work essentially, just allowing everybody to be represented and feel good in their body."
Music video producer Ashleigh Jadee said the reaction to "I'm Not Here to Make Friends" is overblown, noting "nowadays videos are really sexualised anyway."