(MAINNEWS) – Conservative commentators took issue with Sam Smith’s hell-themed performance at the 2023 Grammys, with some going so far as to describe it as “satanic.”
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz denounced the production as “evil” after Smith and collaborator Kim Petras took the stage at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Sunday night to perform their chart-topping single, “Unholy.”
“This…is…evil,” the Republican politician tweeted.
Some social media users were quick to clap back at Cruz, however, with one person replying, “Evil is when a man walks into a school & murders a dozen children Evil is when Russia bombs schools & hospitals to steal land Evil is NOT when a musician dances around in a devil suit performing a hit song.”
Other viewers likened the extravagant performance to “devil worshipping.”
“This video hits all the checkpoints, from Sam Smith and [their] outlandish stance on cultural appropriateness, to devil worshipping & diminishing religion,” one person tweeted.
Despite the backlash, Smith and Petras, both 30, made history at the event.
The “Latch” crooner, who uses “they/them” pronouns, became the first non-binary artist to to win in the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance category, while the German pop songstress became the first trans woman to take home the award.
Anthony Allen Ramos, vice president of communications and talent at GLAAD, told Page Six in a statement, “By awarding queer artists from so many segments of the LGBTQ community and representing so many musical genres as Grammy winners, the Recording Academy reminded the world just how impactful LGBTQ people are when it comes to creating music.”
Smith is no stranger to receiving backlash, particularly from right-wing commentators.
The “Stay With Me” singer was recently defended by diehard fans following criticism over their s-exy, barely-there costumes in their “I’m Not Here to Make Friends” music video.
In the clip, Smith stuns in a slew of daring looks by designer Christian Cowan, ranging from an extravagant, showgirl-style feather headdress to bedazzled corsets with nipple pasties and high-slit skirts.
Some critics called the visuals “vile and evil” and accused Smith of “wearing their s-exuality like a costume and shoving it in everyone’s face.”
The entertainer’s followers were quick to clap back, with one fan writing, “If Sam Smith were thin, cis, and straight, they wouldn’t be ridiculed for how they present and dress.”
“Anyway, support fat queer people,” they added.
By Emily Selleck