Sam Smith has divided opinion with a string of tweets about his friend being the victim of racist abuse.
The Grammy-winning singer shared a series of messages with his Twitter followers in the early hours of Wednesday (20 January) morning, following a night out in London, revealing the racist incident had left him “speechless”.
Just experienced my friend getting verbally abused racially in London. I am absolutely SPEECHLESS.— Sam Smith (@samsmithworld) January 20, 2016
I never ever ever ever thought that would happen here. Absolutely speechless and hurt.— Sam Smith (@samsmithworld) January 20, 2016
However, his posts were met with a lukewarm response, after he admitted he was “shocked” to see that racism is still very much alive in modern Britain.
I feel like I have to shine some sort of light on it. The police were so unhelpful in the situation and its deeply shocked me.— Sam Smith (@samsmithworld) January 20, 2016
Humans are HUMANS— Sam Smith (@samsmithworld) January 20, 2016
I feel like I have to say something. I'm just so upset. So UPSET— Sam Smith (@samsmithworld) January 20, 2016
I just got home and Nina Simone is on the radio - fitting— Sam Smith (@samsmithworld) January 20, 2016
Some Twitter users have now criticised Sam’s prior ignorance, accusing him of “whitesplaining”, while others have called him “patronising” and “privileged”.
A little upset that Sam Smith is shocked about racism. POC talk about racism all the time & you're only shocked when you're a witness?...— Made In War Time (@mediamogulbitch) January 20, 2016
Sam Smith discovering racism pic.twitter.com/A2JTywHkg2— Ellie Mae O'Hagan (@MissEllieMae) January 20, 2016
Sam Smith didn't know racism was a thing but he listens to Nina Simone. pic.twitter.com/8QRlVbyMto— Sista Big Bones ✨ (@TeriAmour) January 20, 2016
Just opened Twitter to find Sam Smith whitesplaining racism. It is too early for this shit.— Philip Ellis (@Philip_Ellis) January 20, 2016
I'm not trying to drag Sam Smith because I don't want him feeling like the victim here. It didn't happen to HIM.— BLACKSTRESS (@DearLeader10) January 20, 2016
Sam smith is living in the blindness world of white privilege. He's "speechless" that racism still exists. Does he watch the news?— Fat-ley Gilbert (@Just_Ashley13) January 20, 2016
Sam Smith makes big deal of him being shocked and hurt cause his friend experienced racism. White privilege level: Maximum— Jon Deep (@charlielunn182) January 20, 2016
Sam Smith is surprised racism exists in the UK. Unrelated: he won best male, R&B act, song and album at 2014 MOBOs. https://t.co/JfzNVJTygI— Thomas Seal (@TW_Seal) January 20, 2016
Idk why everyone is surprised at Sam Smith's surprise at racism. He's rich & white. Lol. He did what a typical white person would do.— Chocolate Bar (@RespectTheAfro_) January 20, 2016
Those Sam Smith racism tweets just annoyed me. Does he live under a rock?— S'Thokozile Ngcobo (@iamsthoko) January 20, 2016
This Sam Smith thing is just... how has he existed in this bubble where he has never noticed racism is a real problem in this country?— Kate Holden (@darthmongoose) January 20, 2016
Sam smith been winning top awards at the mobos but never wondered if racism existed. I despair.— Susuana (@Susuana_Xx) January 20, 2016
Sam Smith discovered racism in 2016— Advillain (@IAmPlateface) January 20, 2016
Has Sam Smith ever read a newspaper. Racism, Xenophobia, Class Discrimination and just basic ignorance is all over the place in Britain— LJS (@0o_LJS_o0) January 20, 2016
since Sam Smith is so aware now, I fully expect him to stop being mute on racial issues that affects 90% of the genre he participates in— mkay (@localblactivist) January 20, 2016
However, others have defended Sam amid the heavy criticism, insisting that he had good intentions, and shouldn’t be ridiculed for trying to draw attention to an important cause.
Sam Smith didn't "discover" racism still exists ... He just realized how visceral and bold it's become. He did nothing wrong.— Sir. Thomas Fuckery (@TheOneNoOneSees) January 20, 2016
As much as Sam smith is an absolute mug I do feel he has a point in that racism is not as outright in the U.K. as it is in the states— Amanda (@therealHBIC_) January 20, 2016
Sorry but why are people angry with @samsmithworld for being upset over racism...would you prefer he didn't care? Idiots.— Yorkshire Problems (@yorkshireprobs) January 20, 2016
Surely Sam Smith can understand and ackowledge that racism exists but, still be shocked to witness it first hand?— TSPSI (@TSPSI) January 20, 2016
People are getting mad at Sam Smith for saying racism is bad & yet get pissed off when people ignore racism... Wyd— kaneki☽ (@JasLizMay) January 20, 2016
So bravo, @samsmithworld… I know a lot of people who wouldn't have used their platform to expose racism, because it's not safe.— Hempstian Grey (@UncleHemp) January 20, 2016
Only in today's perpetually offended society could people get offended by someone (in this case Sam Smith) being shocked by racism— Josh Perkins (@JoshTPerkins) January 20, 2016
Surely attacking Sam Smith for making himself the victim MAKES him the victim? So counter-productive.— Daniel Falconer (@DanielJFalconer) January 20, 2016
Why are you bullying Sam Smith of all things to do— C (@ChrysShotYa) January 20, 2016
I know racism exists but its still shocking to see it in person. I think this is what Sam Smith was reacting to. https://t.co/FsYx51y9ub— 868nathan (@nathan_marcelin) January 20, 2016
Leave Sam Smith alone 🙄😒— Lulu Lewinski (@lulu_supreme) January 20, 2016
So now, everyone's mad about Sam Smith. This is getting ridiculous....— Isaiah L. Carter (@IsaiahLCarter) January 20, 2016
"Humans are HUMANS" is a little overly earnest for my tastes but fair play on Sam Smith for highlighting that stuff. Lots of people wouldn't— Josh (@J_Manasa) January 20, 2016
why are people dragging Sam Smith. is he not supposed to be shocked?— angel (@plantaingirl) January 20, 2016
Sam was recently nominated for his first Academy Award, for his track ‘Writing’s On The Wall’, taken from the soundtrack to the last ‘James Bond’ film, ‘Spectre’.
He’s also been nominated for Best British Video at the Brit Awards, alongside fellow nominees Little Mix, One Direction and Adele.