X Factor singer Bradley Hunt opens up about homophobic abuse
Bradley Hunt was having a great time on the dancefloor of a London nightclub, where Britney Spears’ “Toxic” was blasting through the speakers.
But as he was flicking his neck and doing his dance moves, a man approached him telling him to “stop dancing like that,” Hunt recalled in a video uploaded to his YouTube page on February 19.
Hunt said he thought the man was trying to show off to some girl, and told himself: “Babes, the girls are loving my dancing. Like, they ain’t bothered at you trying to put me down, you ain’t gonna get a girl that way. Just saying.”
What he actually answered was simply: “Don’t tell me what to do.”
His response was met with violence. “Then came the smash right into the nose, then two of his mates on either side ricocheting, punching, thumping me, I’ve never been hit before and the pain absolutely killed,” Hunt said in the video, in which he discussed his own experiences with homophobia.
Hunt said that he called the police to report the attacker, who was arrested and spent a night in jail, “but other than that nothing really happened.”
He tells PinkNews the alleged attack took place in 2016—but this wasn’t his first, or last encounter with homophobic abuse.
Also in 2016, Hunt had taken part in X Factor as part of the Bratavio duo along with his friend Ottavio Columbro—the two had a memorably dramatic audition marked by a dispute over undercooked chicken that eventually resulted in the pair making up and winning a spot in the next round.
The decision had attracted homophobic abuse on social media, with some viewers using anti-gay slurs such as “faggot” and “batty” to describe the singers.
At the time, the pair had also claimed they had been subject to homophobic bullying from other contestants when they took part in Channel 4’s Coach Trip in 2014—a spokesperson for the show dismissed the claims in a statement to The Sun.
Bradley Hunt says homophobic abuse has taken a toll on his mental health
In the video, Hunt also described other instances in which he experienced homophobic abuse—he tells PinkNews the episodes have taken place in December.
He said he was once spat at from a car, and kicked three time by a boy while doing groceries—the boy, according to Hunt’s recollection, was encouraged by his parents to go ask him if he was a boy or a girl. Hunt said again he called the police, but his alleged attackers never showed up in court and nothing ultimately came of it.
Hunt decided to speak out about these incidents due to the mental health repercussions these experiences have caused.
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“I started having anxiety attacks in fear of leaving the house due to it taking its toll on a daily basis. I am aware I was on TV and people recognise me that’s not what the problem is I don’t mind that. It’s the offensive name calling and homophobic abuse that I won’t tolerate,” he says.
He continues: “It’s affected my breathing in public and I’ve had to focus myself to stay strong and not panic or get angry. I just got used to it and was always on the ready to receive hate whenever I go out even just to the shops but I shouldn’t have to get used to it and it be the normal for me.”
In the video, Hunt also addresses internalised homophobia within the LGBT+ community, criticising the tendency to compartmentalise people in categories or being racist on dating profiles.
“I want to start within the gay community itself. Everyone is at each other and we need to UNITE not cause tribes and fueds within! The online world is huge and I would hate for other people to think they are alone or frightened to be themselves.”
Hunt adds: “I want people to open their minds and hearts more.”