#MeToo’s integration into mainstream culture helped women all over stand up to their attackers and try to create an environment of safety that was long overdue. But what hasn’t been fully answered is what happens when the perpetrators are female? The recent allegations against Katy Perry force us to face and answer that question.
Model Josh Kloss was the first to come forward with allegations against Katy Perry. Josh worked with her on her “Teenage Dream” music video. Josh explained how at a birthday party Katy Perry exposed his genitals to her friends without any consent.
Josh shared his horrifying experience on Instagram.
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You know. After I met Katy, we sang a worship song, “open the eyes of my heart” She was cool and kind. When other people were around she was cold as ice even called the act of kissing me “gross” to the entire set while filming. Now I was pretty embarrassed but kept giving my all, as my ex was busy cheating on me and my daughter was just a toddler, I knew I had to endure for her sake. After the first day of shooting, Katy invited me to a strip club in Santa Barbara. I declined and told her “I have to go back to hotel and rest, because this job is all I have right now” So I saw Katy a couple times after her break up with Russel. This one time I brought a friend who was dying to meet her. It was Johny Wujek’s birthday party at moonlight roller way. And when I saw her, we hugged and she was still my crush. But as I turned to introduce my friend, she pulled my Adidas sweats and underwear out as far as she could to show a couple of her guy friends and the crowd around us, my penis. Can you imagine how pathetic and embarrassed i felt? I just say this now because our culture is set on proving men of power are perverse. But females with power are just as disgusting. So for all her good she is an amazing leader, hers songs are mainly great empowering anthems. And that is it. I continued to watch her use clips of her music videos for her world tour and then her dvd, only highlighting one of her male co-stars, and it was me. I made around 650 in total off of teenage dream. I was lorded over by her reps, about not discussing a single thing about anything regarding Katy publicly. And a couple interviews they edited and answered for me. So, happy anniversary to one of the most confusing, assaulting, and belittling jobs I’ve ever done. Yay #teenagedream I was actually gonna play the song and sing it on ukele for the anniversary, but then as I was tuning I thought, fuck this, I’m not helping her bs image another second.
On the heels of Josh coming forward, Tina Kandelaki came forward with her own experience with Katy Perry. Tina, who’s a Russian Tv presenter, told the Rossiyskaya Gazeta that Katy Perry tried to kiss her without consent at a party.
In her interview, Tina says she was invited to the private party with Katy. Here, she was tipsy and tried to kiss Tina. She was able to fight Katy off which prompted her to then try to find someone else to “kiss, hug, and dirty dance”.
At the time of writing this, no adverse action against Katy Perry has been taken by streaming platforms, American Idol, or any brands she may have a contract with.
This situation is just another of many reasons why the allegations of men who were sexually assaulted have to be taken seriously. This isn’t just something that happens to women. The answer to the question at the beginning is obvious- we need to hold all attackers accountable no matter the gender. Yet hardly anyone is talking about what Katy Perry has done.
The #MeToo movement was a long time coming. Hollywood may have embraced it, creating the #TimesUp movement in response, but the movement has always been more than this. It’s inclusive and has to be a platform that represents anyone who has been the victim of sexual assault.
There’s no doubt that there’s a negative stigma around victims of sexual assault. For men, they have to fight the stigma that there’s no way a man can be sexually assaulted. Especially by a woman. The idea of power on either side bred unfair standards that hurt everyone in the end.
1 out of every 10 rape victims is male and 1 in 33 of men in the United States have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.
Male college students 18-24 years old are 5 times more likely to be a victim of sexual assault compared to their non-student counterparts. This is unacceptable.
What’s even worse is that no one is as up in arms as they were when a man was being accused. Rape and sexual assault in all forms deserves to be talked about. All victims deserve support. We should be pissed off that anyone thought they had the right to violate another human.
As a community, especially one that is invested in intersectional feminism, we have to support all stories and all victims.
This means holding Katy Perry accountable for the allegations against her. It means boycotting her music and other commercial products just like we would if the genders were swapped. We should be demanding these allegations be looked into and taken seriously.
Anyone can be a victim and anyone can be a predator. Just because society has ingrained this image of strength in one gender and not the other holds no weight in the truth of these statements.
Both of the events in question happened in front of other people. Just like Weinstein- people knew what happened and the threat of power once again made them choose to be silent. It was a willing choice made by the parties present. One that we can’t even begin to understand unless we’ve been in that same situation.
I believe Josh Kloss and Tina Kandelaki. Everyone is free to make their judgement based on their statements. But remember- gender does not pre-determine who is a victim and who is an attacker. These issues go unreported due to the threat of power and society’s predilection for victim blaming.
Enough is enough. Let’s hold people accountable for their actions.
Cover image courtesy of Alternative Press.
Also published on Medium.