Queer Voices

Westboro Baptist Church Pickets One Direction Concert; Harry Styles Responds

Harry Styles was unfazed by members of the Westboro Baptist Church picketing outside One Direction's Missouri concert Friday night. Instead of reacting harshly to the group's messages of hate, he used the moment to speak out on behalf of equal rights.

Last month, the Westboro Baptist Church first threatened to protest One Direction's Kansas City, Mo., concert on July 19. They called the five bandmates "perverted" representations of the "sin-chasing, fag-enabling, God-hating, Christ-rejecting" United Kingdom.

The group is particularly annoyed about how the pop singers touch each other onstage.

"These freaks and their fans think it's funny for these five perverts to grab each other's asses on stage," read the group's June statement. "They glamorize sin and make a mock of God's standards. Their one purpose is to encourage the youth of this generation to pursue every lust their evil hearts can imagine."

On Friday, WBC showed up to picket the performance outside the Sprint Center. Protestors arrived armed with signs reading, "God Hates the UK," "God Hates Sluts" and "United U Fall."

The group responded by "thanking" Styles for bringing focus to God's word.

Westboro planned to protest Train on Saturday. Boyz II Men, 98 Degrees and New Kids on the Block were targeted Sunday.

The boys of One Direction have faced gay rumors in the past. Some questioned if 19-year-old Styles and bandmate Louis Tomlinson were more than just friends, and Lance Bass said one of the five is "probably" gay. However, the members have denied any such talk.

As for Styles, he publicly retweeted support for same-sex marriage rights in the U.K. earlier this year.

Anne Hathaway

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