Remember the dichotomy: the case of Katy Perry’s sexual assault allegations

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Katy Perry and Josh Kloss starring together in "Teenage Dream," the music video that would later spark controversy.

Natalia Mora, Memorial Copy Editor

During the late summer months of 2019, the crux of pop singer Katy Perry’s two-parter releases “Never Really Over” and “Small Talk,” brought a dark exposé of the celebrity’s history to the public eye. Word of Perry’s two sexual assault allegations has swept into the #MeToo movement community, a social movement geared against sexual harassment, specifically in bringing down perpetrators in power.

Perry has become a hotspot for conversation on the double standards and the accountability of all in preventing sexual abuse.

Upon the ninth anniversary of the release of Perry’s top-charting platinum music video “Teenage Dream,” model Josh Kloss disclosed a disturbing recollection of events from what he describes as “one of the most confusing, assaulting and belittling jobs” on his career.

In 2012, at a luxurious birthday party held by creative consultant Johnny Wujek, Perry allegedly exposed Kloss’ genitals in front of a crowd of party-goers.

Swept under the public radar for almost seven years, Kloss’ secret finally surfaced the mainstream through an accusatory Instagram post this month.

“Our culture is set on proving men of power are perverse, but females with power can be just as disgusting,” Kloss said.

Just two days later, Russian journalist and TV personality Tina Kandelaki came out with her account of being forced into a kiss with a drunk Perry just two years before Kloss’ event in question. Kandelaki reported her physical response, forcibly trying to escape Perry’s grasp.

Perry has seasoned sexual offenses throughout her career, including cases involving singer Shawn Mendes and teen American Idol contestant Benjamin Glaze. These accounts have sprung to the surface under the scrutiny of #MeToo, sullying her track record even further.

The male-offending-female rape culture is no stranger to the media and has become something of a trope. Responses to Perry’s allegations shed light on the antithesis of this trend, and the resulting conversation may reveal more about third-wave feminism and anti-rape advocates than one might anticipate.

Had the incident cropped from a male domineering a powerhouse industry, such as 2017’s “public enemy number one” Harvey Weinstein, there might have been more outrage and call to action through media outlets.

Instead, masses of diehard Perry fans are rushing to her aid, excusing the behavior for her reckless, quirky nature. Friends of Perry, including Wujek, have dismissed the claims in recent interviews; in fact, many have turned the tables on the matter, calling Kloss an obsessive fan actively trying to sabotage Perry’s image.

Fortunately, the American media has had little opportunity to reckon with big-league female sexual offenders, much less a household name like Perry, the first woman to ever hold a spot on the Billboard Top 100 for one full year. As such, media outlets are approaching the scoop with a more uncoordinated approach.

The empowerment of women to speak up and make a difference has increased at incredible rates in the past decade and the effects of the #MeToo movement warrants as much pride as it receives. Though, as indicated through Perry’s incident, we should hold ourselves accountable for offenses from every end of the spectrum.

Sexual assault affects not only the victim, but hundreds of those involved in the victim’s tight-knit community. The fear of 2012’s events presently leaves Kloss scarred, even seven years after the fact, yet his claims are dismissed as that of a raging Perry fanatic.

If the #MeToo movement community aim to obliterate the opponents of sexual abuse, their umbrella of protection should not be partisan towards any one group. Male rape victims’ voices must be heard at the same volume as female, and their stories deserve the same degree of attributed severity and press coverage.

 

Contact Natalia Mora at [email protected]