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POP CULTURE

The Celebrities Staying Strangely Silent About the Orlando Shooting

Fans of pop stars like Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, and Nicki Minaj are disappointed they haven't showed solidarity with the LGBT community after the Orlando shootings.

Mitchell Sunderland

Mitchell Sunderland

Photo via Wikipedia

It's now become an ugly ritual: There's a mass shooting, people recoil in horror and grief, and pop stars issue tweets of condolences and shock. Strangely, after the mass murder of 49 people at the Pulse gay club in Orlando on Saturday, several prominent pop stars have been silent, failing to issue their customary solidarity tweet. While it certainly could be an issue of fatigue over the sad dance we keep doing around mass gun violence, Perez Hilton has accused the silent pop stars of something less charitable.

This week, Hilton took to his podcast to call out pop stars who have remained silent about the Orlando shooting, insinuating it could have something to do with their own beliefs about homosexuality. He rejected the idea that celebrities can refuse to comment on public tragedies. "Fuck that bullshit!" he shouted. "I am judging them." He also named names: Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Demi Lovato, Nicki Minaj, and Drake.

When reached over email, Hilton told Broadly, "[Pop stars] may claim they don't have to comment on social events. Or every social event. Or they may think it's too political to touch. And to all that I say: Bullshit! This is a human and a global issue. They don't have to mention guns or laws. But I believe that every single person that uses social media on the regular—famous or not—has a responsibility to this world to speak on this atrocity! We must all speak on it!"

Read more: Gay Floridians React to Shooting

Many of these pop stars have spoken out about previous terrorist attacks, and some have a long history of supporting the LGBT community. Here's a breakdown of the pop stars that Perez called out and a few other pop stars who have failed to respond to the Orlando shooting, along with their reactions to previous tragedies and their backgrounds.

Pop Star: Taylor Swift
Statements about previous terrorist attacks: In the wake of November's terror attack, she posted a picture of the city with the caption: "Praying for Paris."
Response to Orlando: She has stayed mum on the hate crimes in Orlando. Her most recent Instagram photo is a picture of her at a wedding. She did not return Broadly's request for comment.
Background: Although Swift now sings disco songs about her alleged "Bad Blood" with Katy Perry, she started as a country musician. She moved to Nashville after a conservative childhood in Philadelphia, where her dad worked at Merrill Lynch as a wealth manager and senior vice president.


Pop Star: Justin Bieber
Statements about previous terrorist attacks: After the Paris attacks, Bieber posted a letter on Twitter about his Friend who was murdered along with 130 other people. He has yet to specifically discuss the attacks in Orlando.
Response to Orlando: Bieber has not spoken out about the hate crime. However, he reassured fans that he would not be canceling his show in Orlando, tweeting, "For all those asking no I won't cancel the Orlando show. I stand with Orlando in support. Love you Orlando! #OrlandoStrong."
Background: Bieber comes from Christian background. His mother, Pattie Mallette, is a devout Christian who produced an anti-abortion film called Crescendo. Bieber has professed his love for Christ. "God told me to change my ways," he remarked on his recent comeback.

Pop Star: Drake
Statements about previous terrorist attacks: Last November, he posted a French flag on Instagram after the violence in Paris.
Response to Orlando: Drake has not commented on the incident in Orlando. His manager did not return Broadly's request for comment.
Background: On Degrassi: The Next Generation, Drake played Jimmy, a kid who becomes paralyzed after he gets shot during a school shooting.

Pop Star: Rihanna
Statements about previous terrorist attacks: During her Anti World Tour, she tweeted her support of the city and dedicated "Diamonds" to victims of the terrorist attack in Brussels. She had played in Brussels earlier this year.
Response to Orlando: She has yet to discuss the shooting in Orlando. Her representative did not return Broadly's request for comment.
Background: Rihanna has publicly supported the LGBT community in the past. Earlier this year, she reportedly counseled a gay fan through Twitter direct messages, helping him come out.

Pop Star: Demi Lovato
Statements about previous terrorist attacks: As Hilton pointed out, Lovato loves to interject herself into news events. She tweeted immediately after she heard about the tragedy in Paris, and in the wake of the bombing in Brussels, she tweeted, "My heart is broken."
Response to Orlando: The day after Hilton called her out, Lovato took to Twitter to say, "I cry for the victims, ache for the families and have immense admiration for the LGBTQ community and their resolve in absorbing this horror and uniting with strength and fearlessness. Stay strong. We stand with you."
Background: Rumors have swirled around Hollywood about Lovato's sexuality in Hollywood. Last year, she said she's "definitely not denying" being bisexual.

Pop Star: Nicki Minaj
Statements about previous terrorist attacks: For the most part, Minaj has refrained from voicing her opinion on world events.
Response to Orlando: While gay America roiled from the terror attack, she released a new song called "Don't Hurt Me" yesterday. (Minaj's representative did not return Broadly's request for comment.) A fan from Florida, who calls himself Johnny on Twitter, spoke out after she promoted the song without commenting on the Orlando shooting. He tells Broadly he originally loved Minaj because "she would speak about LGBTQ issues," but in recent years he has seen her stay silent about gay marriage and other issues. "I'm kind of offended that Nicki could tweet about a song but can't acknowledge the shootings in Orlando." he tweeted. Minaj then unfollowed him, he claims.
Background: Minaj has told her gay fans to remember that "suicide is not the answer." Although gay men have long identified her as a gay icon, some LGBT writers have criticized her for working with homophobic rappers like Eminem, who has a long history of making homophobic comments.