Steve Grand has attempted to backpedal after making a series of remarks that many perceived as an overt expression of white male privilege in an interview.
In a chat with PrideSource this week, the openly gay singer-songwriter, 26, attempted to be self-deprecating, offering candid thoughts on his viral fame, his music and even his manhood.
Defending his decision to show off his chiseled body in music videos and on Instagram, he said, "I just know people have really, really low expectations of me and that’s what the Internet does." Calling himself "an easy person to target," Grand continued, "Young, good-looking, white, gay men -- we love to hate those people."
Needless to say, the Internet backlash to Grand's remarks was swift, with many arguing that the singer could learn a thing or two, particularly about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people of color, before choosing to speak out on identity politics.
"NEW RULE FOR GAY COMMUNITY: If you're white, pretty, & dumb, avoid giving your unsolicited opinion on race & gender," one person tweeted. Added another, "Steve Grand is the Ann Coulter of gay media."
Similarly, the think pieces came fast and furious, too.
"Last I checked, being young, good-looking and white was sort of like winning the lottery of life — especially if you’re vying for a career in Hollywood," Graham Gremore wrote for The Bilerico Report on LGBTQ Nation. "I think it’s safe to say that Steve Grand, put simply, is not a socially marginalized individual. In fact, he’s just the opposite."
Les Fabian Brathwaite went a step further, arguing that Grand needed to "step outside of his own entitlement” before opening his mouth, for Out magazine.
"His privilege isn't perceived, it's very real," Brathwaite wrote. "Which is why young, good-looking, white, gay men are kinda the worst —no T, no shade."
Indeed, in lamenting the scrutiny he endured as a gay white man, Grand casually overlooked some harrowing statistics. Compared to their white counterparts, LGBT people of color are at a much greater risk of lifelong poverty, according to a 2015 report cited by The Advocate.
That lack of resources, also, is likely to have greater implications for gay men of color in particular. For example, a 2016 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that half of all black men who have sex with men will become HIV positive during their lifetime, Poz reports. If current rates persist, a quarter of all Latino men who have sex with men will also become HIV positive.
For his part, Grand offered a shaky, if sincere, clarification of his remarks on Twitter.
A day later, he added a more pointed apology for the remarks.
None of that means, of course, that we should let Grand off the hook entirely. But here's to hoping he considers the power of his words next time around.