Is Sam Smith Off The Hook After Oscars Faux Pas?

Photo: Rex
When Sam Smith collected his Oscar on Sunday night, he mistakenly suggested he was the first "openly gay man" to win Hollywood's top prize. Twitter instantly sharpened its knives, pointing out that Elton John, Stephen Sondheim, filmmaker Bill Condon and several other prominent gay men had already been honoured by the Academy. Then Dustin Lance Black, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Milk and fiancé of Tom Daley publicly called the singer out, tweeting a link to his 2009 acceptance speech: "Hey @SamSmithWorld, if you have no idea who I am, it may be time to stop texting my fiancé. Here's a start: …" Ouch.

After what must have been a stressful few hours, Smith appears to have pulled off some pretty effective damage limitation. "Second openly gay man to win an oscar or third or fourth or 100th, It wasn't my point," he told his Twitter followers when he woke up yesterday. "My point was to shine some light on the LGBT community who I love so dearly." He then apologised to Black, who subsequently sought to play down the less wholesome insinuations of his tweet by saying: "Dear Internet: @TomDaley1994 and @samsmithworld are pals. They text. Thus my surprise Sam took me for a closet case! Feel free to laugh."

Smith also received a supportive message from Ian McKellen, whose original comments about gay men at the Oscars he had misconstrued. "I'd said no openly gay actor had received #Oscars-that doesn’t detract from @samsmithworld achievement, Congratulations to him & all others!” McKellen tweeted. Smith now seems to be off the hook, but he'll definitely want to check his facts next time he thinks he could be making LGBT history.

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