Tom Jones is under fire for his controversial comments on homosexuality, after he spoke of his past 'paranoia' about working with gay men.
The Welsh-born singer, 75, looked back on his career in music and recalled his nerves about working with 'homosexuals'. His comments provoked a backlash on Twitter, with Tom pleading with fans to bear in mind the historical 'context'.
In an interview with The Big Issue, he said: “I was ready for most aspects of the music industry but when I met the producer Joe Meek, that threw me off a bit. Because he was a homosexual.
“I thought, wait a minute, is the London scene, the people who run British show business – are there a lot of homosexuals involved here? Because if so, I’m going back to Cardiff.”
He continued: “When I signed with Decca and Peter Sullivan became my manager… he said the same thing Joe Meek said: ‘Tell the boys to pack their gear up, I want to talk to you myself.’
“I said: ‘You’re not one of these queer fellows are you?’ And he said: ‘What are you on about?’ I became paranoid, you see.”
The Delilah singer added: “I wondered, was that required to make a hit record? But then I got into it and I realised no, it just so happened that the first guy to record me was a homosexual producer.
“Once I got over the shock of that, and realised it wasn’t true, most people were normal. Well, I shouldn’t put it like that. Homosexuals are normal, it’s not that they’re not normal. It’s just that they are what they are.”
The controversial comments provoked a backlash on Twitter.
— James Ferguson (@jamesferguson92) October 23, 2015
Tom Jones has said gay people aren't normal. Someone needs to tell him that, in this day and age, It's Not Unusual to be loved by anyone.
— Salford Stands Up (@SalfordStandsUp) October 22, 2015
— Neil Ireland (@neiljireland) October 22, 2015
It seems #TomJones has put his foot in it again! It's ok didn't like him anyway!
— elizabeth jameson (@gordonlebear) October 23, 2015
— Dario Silcock (@DarioSilcock) October 23, 2015
The singer replied to criticism, urging fans to bear in mind that this took place in the context of the 50s and 60s:
Context! The story is about knowledge/attitudes in the 50s & 60s. it's called History!
— Tom Jones (@RealSirTomJones) October 22, 2015
And many fans expressed their support:
— Paul Sheppard (@PaulJSheppard) October 22, 2015
So, Tom Jones talked about how he felt about gay folk a hundred years ago and he's gettin slated like it's now ? Get over yourselves clowns
— *Uncanny Annie (@rumdu2) October 23, 2015
@RealSirTomJones as a gay man I have no problem with what you said! I guess that's because I can understand context!
— Adam George (@applegleek) October 23, 2015
I don't think it's fair to attack @RealSirTomJones over his comments about gay people. Those views have clearly changed since the 60s
— Lee (@Hotdesigner) October 22, 2015
@RealSirTomJones I know – and I understand. But please, take advice from people and block things like that. Doesn't represent you well!
— Jeremy Skyrme (@DrSkyrme) October 22, 2015
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