Tom Jones faces backlash after admitting he used to be ‘paranoid’ about homosexuals
The singer made the comments during a recent interview about his early music career.
Sir Tom Jones has faced criticism over comments he made while discussing his first impressions of the music industry, stating that he was “paranoid” of homosexuals.
Speaking to The Big Issue, the music icon stated: “I was ready for most aspects of the music industry but when I met the producer Joe Meek, that threw me off a bit. Because he was a homosexual.
“I thought, wait a minute, is the London scene, the people who run British showbusiness – are there a lot of homosexuals involved here? Because if so, I’m going back to Cardiff.”
Jones later explained that his naive point of view soon changed after he working with a string of gay music bosses – including his managers and producers.
“Once I got over the shock of that, and realised it wasn’t true, most people were normal,” he explained.
“Well, I shouldn’t put it like that. Homosexuals are normal, it’s not that they’re not normal. It’s just that they are what they are.”
However, despite the fact that the period Sir Tom describes was over 50 years ago – when homosexuality in the UK was still illegal – many have taken offence at his comments and the way he chose to describe the gay community.
Andrew White, Director of LGBT rights group Stonewall Cymru said: “It’s not unusual to meet gay people in show business so we’d have thought that Sir Tom would have learnt how to talk about us by now.”
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“Instead he’s still painfully tripping over his words.
“Here in Wales we call him Jones The Voice, it would be a real shame if he became Jones the voice of the past,” he told The Daily Mail.
Earlier this year, the BBC was forced to issue an apology to Jones after he was axed as a coach on talent show The Voice in favour of Boy George.
It was revealed in August that after four years on the show, the Welsh crooner had been axed in favour of the Culture Club singer – with Paloma Faith also joining to replace now X Factor judge Rita Ora.
However, Sir Tom expressed hurt after it was revealed the BBC had only informed him that he would be dropped from the series just days before it was announced.