I know I shouldn’t be surprised about this, but I honestly am.
Yesterday, if you watched the live feed of the after show interviews for the Brits, you might have heard a comment Liam Payne of One Direction made about Justin Timberlake. The interviewer, Laura Whitmore, had asked if they were excited to see anyone in particular at the awards, and Liam responded that “Justin Timberlake makes me starstruck.”
There’s a bit of banter back and forth after that between Liam and bandmate Louis Tomlinson, with Louis teasing Liam about how happy JT makes him, and then Whitmore says “he makes me very happy too, but probably for different reasons”. In the live feed, you could hear Liam respond with something like “how do you know that?” Whitmore laughs it off and moves on.
But most people won’t hear that comment, because the official version of this interview, cleaned up and posted on the Brits YouTube account several hours after it was streamed, excises Liam’s comment from the interview.
You can compare the two below. The conversation starts at 1:52 on the official version and 2:41 on a video posted by fans from the live feed.Version 1 here, version 2 below.
Now, judging by the differences in times (1:52 vs 2:41) when this conversation starts, the official interview does excise quite a bit from the original interview. However, they didn’t cut out any other part of the crosstalk after Whitmore spoke—you can even still hear someone, Harry I think, exclaim “Jesus”. Cutting out Liam’s comment doesn’t make the interview flow any better or shorten the interview in a significant way.
Which leads me to believe the comment was excised, perhaps due to a request from 1D’s team of publicists/managers (who, as Harry pointed out earlier in the interview, were standing just to the sides of the camera), perhaps due to some self-censorship on the part of the program’s producers, because it made Liam appear something other than 100% cis-male 0-on-the Kinsey-scale hetero.
I know it’s just one little moment, but I’m fucking sick of this bullshit. It’s not the first time this has happened, and it won’t be the last, and I wish the entertainment industry would knock it off. Liam wasn’t making any grand declaration of his sexuality, but he did appear to push back on the idea that men who are starstruck couldn’t possibly be experiencing the same feelings as a hetero woman. Which is good—people SHOULD feel empowered to call out that kind of policing when it happens to them.
It especially upsets me that the interview retains Whitmore’s re-framing of her attraction to JT as substantially different than Liam’s. This completely changes what actually happened—and serves to reinforce the rigid gender and sexual orientation constraints put on the members of One Direction.
They could have cut the whole exchange without the interview suffering. Leaving her comment makes me even more sure that their intention in cutting Liam’s comment was to censor him.
Though honestly, if 1D’s management team and/or the entertainment industry in general thinks they can just keep sweeping these kinds of things under the rug, then the joke’s on you, because the boys of One Direction are about to start their second breakneck world tour in as many years, and this one is going to last 8 months. Good luck keeping your stories straight this time.