Grindr | Sam Smith

Sam Smith Facing Backlash Over His Dismissal of Grindr, Tinder


Since coming out as gay earlier this year Sam Smith has stepped into the cultural spotlight for reasons other than his singing voice. Smith, 22, made a name for himself channeling memories of unrequited loved into his debut album In The Lonely Hour, describing the record as “a diary from a lonely 21-year-old.”

“It was my way of talking about the only real issue in my life.” Smith explained to Digital Spy. “I fell in love with someone who didn't love me back, and it made me get into this head space of Will I find love?”

Since May, and the meteoric rise of his album, Smith has reportedly continued his search for true love as young artists are wont to do. A traditionalist at heart, however, Smith has made a point of condemning the use matchmaking and hook up apps to find a lasting connection. Smith, who is now dating, describes having met his new beau the “proper way,” a sentiment that has left some of his mans a bit miffed. Given Smith’s status as a freshly minted icon, Gawker’s Rich Juzwiak and The Wire’s Kevin O’Keefe took the singer to task for his dismissal of what they consider to be a rather substantial aspect of modern gay culture.

More than just preferring traditional face to face interaction, O’Keefe argues, Smith is making an implicit condemnation of forms of gay culture that might not necessarily be considered as “normal.”

“As a gay singer, it's not a stretch to imagine much of Smith's potential fanbase does use Grindr, Tinder, etc.” O’Keefe lays out in a lengthy essay. “Sure, he shouldn't pander to them if he doesn't agree with what they're doing, but to essentially wag his finger and say "naughty, naughty" seems like bad PR.”

In Juzwiak’s opinion, Smith’s posturing of himself in opposition to men interested in exploring newer ways to connect with one another smacks both of mild technophobia and cliched gay respectability politics:

"[T]here is a different experience to be had, one that is just as real as the painful one Smith implies, one without pathology or grief. Apps don't necessarily ruin communication; they fix it for people who are too nervous to approach people in public. Or they just make it easier to get sex when you want sex.”

Smith’s words, given that he’s a young, rising star openly identifying himself as gay, carry an added layer of significance not just for his fans, but also to the industry mechanics that ultimately decide what kind of artist’s projects get greenlit. Smith incorporates the very real themes of gay love, loss, and longing into his music and videos, which is an undeniable sign of progress. That progress is undercut, however, when those themes are come along with caveats that devalue certain forms of intimate connection in favor of others.

Watch Sam Smith's interview with Fresh 102.7 discuss his coming out AFTER THE JUMP...


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  1. Let's be real here folks: Grindr and Tinder are not places you go to meet a guy and fall in love. They are booty call services. We all know this. Do you look at Grindr and seriously believe you're going to find the man you're going to marry? Not unless you live in a dream world. You look at the guys on Grindr because you want sex and you want it now.

    I've never used Grindr or Tinder but I know what they are and really have no desire to hook up with anyone there. To me it is just as stupid as trolling a public park at 2 a.m.. A place where you are certainly not there to bring home "Mr. Right".

    We are all different and we have our own ways of looking for someone to fall in love with. If Grindr floats your boat it only does so for the short term. Would you actually marry and seek a future with anyone who is on Grindr? God, I hope not.

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Aug 23, 2014 1:09:36 PM

  2. Can we just stop overusing the word "icon" now, please? Seriously.

    Posted by: literatedog | Aug 23, 2014 1:11:53 PM

  3. "That progress is undercut, however, when those themes are come along with caveats that devalue certain forms of intimate connection in favor of others."

    First of all, what? Get the sentence structure correct before making your point. Secondly, his progress, as it were, is not undercut because some people are offended by his commentary. And lastly, how exactly is grindr and its ilk a form of intimate connection? There is no intimacy, it's all out there in the digital world, saved on servers for as long as those servers run.

    I personally applaud Mr. Smith for such a statement. I had no idea who or what he was, nor a desire to find out. And now my curiosity is piqued by this statement which has this particular writer/blogger/poster and others (who are so easily offended) up in arms over a personal statement.

    Get over yourself, Bridget, er, I mean Chuck.

    Posted by: Nate W. | Aug 23, 2014 1:11:54 PM

  4. I've used Grindr, and have found both scum and friends on there. I don't mind what Smith said, though. Juzwiak and O'Keefe are overreacting.

    Posted by: Sergio | Aug 23, 2014 1:12:14 PM

  5. as rather-intense as Juzwiak's dissection of it was - it wasn't that far off the mark. "the proper" way to meet a guy? what's that? get super-famous and THEN land a man?

    mike ryan - "I've never used Grindr or Tinder but I know what they are and really have no desire to hook up with anyone there."

    Then you don't know what you're talking about. I've met, and made, great platonic friends off of Grindr, and other gay-sites. Platonic friends. And some not-so-platonic friends. Long-term lovers, boyfriends, etc. Connections and relationships that continue on to this day.

    I've also had boring go-nowhere dates I got the "old fashioned" way. I've also met guys from Facebook.

    "If Grindr floats your boat it only does so for the short term. Would you actually marry and seek a future with anyone who is on Grindr? God, I hope not."

    Why? because they'd be proving you wrong? that's rather stupid of you, Mike Ryan. Why be upset that two people had success with something that you've never tried?

    ironically, Mike Ryan, you prove Juzwiak's point entirely - this pathetic neutered ideology. "oh, i'm not like THOSE GAYS who HOOKUP" ok. and maybe you're also possible someone that couldn't even if he wanted to with all his might, know what i mean?

    you can meet Mr. Right and Mr. Wrong in the most unexpected of places and venues and circumstances.

    it's justfunny, Mike Ryan, that you're adamantly ranting against something that you then confess you've never used.

    i've used Grindr and been rather thrilled with it. it's what you make of it, and bring to it.

    why be embarrassed about where or how you met a great guy, whether it's a friend a lover or the man you end up with? Only insecure gays with insecure gay-shame would float some "let's not tell people it was on Grindr" bulls**t. why not be honest about it? if it worked, then IT WORKED.

    but, Mike Ryan, since you yourself admit to having never used it, you cannot make any of the statements you hoped to make. after all, you have no idea what you're talking about . you have an idea in your head , that you fabictrated, then railed against. congrats. that's stupid.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Aug 23, 2014 1:16:20 PM

  6. Sorry, but I've got to agree with the singer. The apps are primarily, from what I've seen, for random sex. Trying to connect on them for anything more meaningful seems like a waste of time. Even when you post a profile saying you don't do nsa sex you still get guys pming you asking if you're looking for a hookup. I think a lot of guys using the apps can't actually read.

    Posted by: Chris | Aug 23, 2014 1:18:08 PM

  7. and Mike Ryan, i'm not sure why you post your Facebook account, if it is indeed weird. it's a strange one, to be sure. your "photos" are collections of boys that are NOT YOU and you don't even have any friends. at all. i'm not surprised you wrote what you wrote. it's pretty much to be expected.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Aug 23, 2014 1:20:27 PM

  8. He's a growing boy. One day he'll get it.

    Posted by: ricky rocky | Aug 23, 2014 1:24:34 PM

  9. .....again , everyone saying "oh, Smith is right! i've never used grindr but it's a sleazy app for THOSE GAYS who hook up and can't be intimate and have SEX and are all THAT KIND OF GAY and they're not capable of love and RELATIONSHIPS..." calm down, Blanches. all y'all blanches.

    if you don't use it, why are you so confused by the reality: that many people do exactly what you claim one cannot do on Grindr, all the time. ALL THE TIME. i don't get why some of you are adamantly defending your "opinion", when your opinion isn't even AN INFORMED ONE.

    but what's the root of your choice of opinion? what about the idea of guys connection via grindr or other apps and sites, and having meaningful encounters that lead to more is so upsetting to you?

    does your life suddenly become less enjoyable if you accept the reality that a great many men use grind and end up meeting other gay men and forming rather strong and connected bonds with them, sexual or otherwise?

    its like a bunch of guys standing outside a house party, not going in, barely even being able to see inside the windows, standing outside demanding to anyone who will listen about the activities you insist are, and are not, going on inside the party.

    but you don't know. because you've not stepped inside.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Aug 23, 2014 1:26:09 PM

  10. irony - while Juzwiak's post may seem an "overreaction" to Smith's statements, they're a perfect encapsulation of the nonsense some of you are trotting out in here.
    to a tee.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Aug 23, 2014 1:28:30 PM

  11. So a globally-popular gay male artist at the very beginning of his career and in the full blush of youth and love says that he means no offense to anyone, but he thinks that impersonal, superficial technology meant to quickly put you together with people who physically attract you is killing romance.

    And of course he's not wrong.

    And of course the gay male media whore idiots who want to be the next number one gay male media whore idiot race to get their newest 15 seconds of fame by tearing into someone who is more intelligent, more talented, more empathic, more rich and much, much, much more popular then they will ever be -- because it's so important to tear down any successful gay men over whatever you can make up to tear them down with, if those successful gay men just won't cooperate by giving the idiots something they said or did that was actually wrong.

    I don't care about the newest crop of gay male media whore idiots.

    Full disclosure: I don't care about the oldest gay male media whore idiots, either.

    None of them are ever going to get in the news by saying something as smart and kind as Smith did, they're only going to get in the news by pretending that he said something else and that they disagree with the popular, powerful person.

    What a smarmy way to make a living, but it's only one step below reporting what they said about what the better person said and pretending it's newsworthy.

    Posted by: oncemorewithfeeling | Aug 23, 2014 1:30:57 PM

  12. Smith's in the truth telling business, and as much as some people don't like him *saying* it, he's telling the truth. Not that I care what individuals decide to do, but humans love to delude themselves.

    Posted by: Tarc | Aug 23, 2014 1:31:12 PM

  13. so, in conclusion: you're all proving Juzwiak right. awesome.

    now feel free to post more "here's my rant against something i've never used" comments which, like i said, utterly prove juzwiak's point.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Aug 23, 2014 1:33:37 PM

  14. He's allowed to have his opinions of Grindr, Scruff, Tinder, whatever, but it must be easy to dismiss them when he's able to have his "pick of the litter" dating-wise. If I were an out gay talented superstar I wouldn't be on dating sites either. But I'm not, so there I am. It all depends how you use the apps

    Posted by: Cody | Aug 23, 2014 1:34:44 PM

  15. He's not an Icon...just another Troll....

    Posted by: rochon | Aug 23, 2014 1:35:04 PM

  16. He is facing backlash in some gay websites, frankly, nothing important.

    What he said is totally correct, grindr is basically an app to find a sex partner (i don't doubt that some people found friends in grindr, but that's not the use most people do of the app).

    He is talking about communication and finding love. He simply said that he wants to meet a guy in an old fashioned way, wich is perfectly ok (facebook friend is not the same that a real friend).

    And frankly, i doubt this affect in any way to his fanbase. One of the things that made him so popular is that it's really easy to connect with the lyrics of the album for everyone.
    He has mainstream success because the message of the album is universal. Yes, it's about a guy, but everybody could feel that way.
    And by the way, he has a big straight fanbase, specially female

    Posted by: jjose712 | Aug 23, 2014 1:36:14 PM

  17. The only one ranting is you, kiwi.

    Posted by: Chris | Aug 23, 2014 1:36:43 PM

  18. Backlash? Two people didn't agree. Oh my!

    Good for him. He is right and he should never, ever allow himself to be bullied by a couple of angry guys who think they are the arbiters of gay culture.

    Posted by: Dalen | Aug 23, 2014 1:39:19 PM

  19. Chris, it's just one of those things: the only opinion anyone is entitled to is an INFORMED ONE. and what have we seen on here? a bunch of guys railing against something....they don't use. and have no idea of. therefore, their chosen opinions are worth less than nothing.

    "well, i've never used it but i hear it's all about sex! so i hate it! and nobody would ever find a man to marry from it!"

    why would someone tell themselves that, let alone tell others? what, in your lives, is so empty that you need to consciously choose to believe that nobody ever gets something they want out of Grindr?

    it makes no sense.

    how to use grindr - post your photo. use what text-space you have to say as much about you as you can. then ignore any messages from guys who aren't on the sam page, and contact those who are. then chat. then meet up. i've met great buds to watch my art-house films with, smoke a bowl and jam to classic rock with, and more.

    thus - my experience negates the claims y'all are making from a place of NO EXPERIENCE.

    two guys meet of grindr and fall in love. and what happens? this site's dolts scream "No you didn't!" or "you should be ashamed!"

    no. and no. and no.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Aug 23, 2014 1:42:55 PM

  20. wow this is the shallowest thing i've read all week.

    Posted by: oc | Aug 23, 2014 1:44:40 PM

  21. It's funny how people try to justify these apps by claiming that on occasion they are used for non-hookup purposes. So what? That isn't why they were created and Smith obviously wasn't talking about these alternate uses.

    The truth is that these apps are not good for gay people, for any people. They dehumanize the users, cheapen gay sexuality and enrich the VC investors who own and distribute the apps. It is amazing that anyone would consider this to be "culture" or a source of pride.

    Posted by: Siempre | Aug 23, 2014 1:54:32 PM

  22. I dismiss them as well. They are bad for relationships.

    Posted by: Todd | Aug 23, 2014 1:59:39 PM

  23. how does an app specifically, and inherently, cheapen gay sexuality and dehumanize users when, as i stated, it's all about how each person uses the app?

    How is my having made connections with guys, whom i continue to have ongoing relationships of many sorts with, in any way a harmful cheapening of anything?

    we met. we connected. we bonded. we continued that bonded connection.

    what's been cheapened? what's been harmed?

    who cares what it was originally intended for? the beauty is one can subvert anything!

    is it because some of you are angry that other guys are hooking up and you aren't/CAN'T? is it that you feel that if someone finds Love on grindr, it makes your life worse because you didn't use grindr and still didn't find love?

    again - IRONY - you're all proving Juzwiak right.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Aug 23, 2014 2:01:31 PM

  24. On a scale of 1 to even, I can't. Are you for real? The only "backlash" is from losers looking for clicks

    Posted by: Jmac | Aug 23, 2014 2:04:29 PM

  25. we found love in a hopeless place ;)

    Posted by: grindruser | Aug 23, 2014 2:06:55 PM

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