Until recently, Molly Stevens was a contestant on the popular singing talent show, The Voice. During the program’s “battle rounds,” recording star, Kelly Clarkson, who is a judge on the program, said Stevens reminded her of performers like Indigo Girls and Melissa Etheridge.
Stevens, who is openly gay, said comparing her to other openly gay performers was “small minded” of Clarkson. “While I’m extremely honored to be in that category of talent I do believe that comment did us all a disservice and only threw us into a labeling trap… It felt small minded to me and exactly what I feel we need to bring attention to the world… People put us in boxes.”
Stevens let her frustration out on Twitter, and immediately received a backlash, because Clarkson is a known advocate of LGBT people and performers. Responses like the following from Twitter user Phillip Leodoro, were common: “Molly Stevens, you should apologize to Kelly Clarkson. She has always supported the gay community. As a fan and a gay man, I am offended… (you) sound like a sore loser.”
Clarkson did not respond with the accusations and vitriol that some of her fans did, however, she did admit she was saddened by Stevens’ comments: “Wow. This really bums me out. I need everyone 2 hear me & hear ALL OF THE WORDS I SAY. I compared Molly to Melissa Etheridge, Patty Griffin (a name that was left out conveniently), & the Indigo Girls purely because of the rasp in her voice & that she’s an amazing storyteller.”
Stevens admitted she might have jumped the gun and made a bad assumption, apologizing for the misunderstanding: “I sincerely apologize for any hurt I may have caused with my words. This was not my intention at all… For the people who know me well, you know my heart well too. I strive to live in truth and light. Kelly Clarkson, I truly apologize for thinking differently. I look up to you.”
So, at least for the time being, it’s nice to see what could have been a nasty and prolonged Twitter issue resolved amicably. However, there is still a lesson here for up and coming brands on social media about how to go after bigger, established brands. If you decided to go after someone personally, make sure you don’t do yourself more harm than good.
In this case, Stevens may have felt upset about her ouster on the show, but she allowed that frustration to leak out on to the internet, where it can’t be taken back. In the process, she turned people who were natural allies into enemies…or, at least, critics, who demanded she walk back her statements. Even though she has apologized, that stigma is still there for many potential fans.