Olly Alexander reacts to complaints about his New Year’s Eve performance: ‘I can only assume this is because I’m gay’

Small group of viewers took issue with the singer’s performance on the BBC to celebrate the new year

Roisin O'Connor
Wednesday 26 January 2022 12:49
It's a Sin trailer

Olly Alexander has said he believes the complaints over his New Year’s Eve performance were down to people being uncomfortable with “a gay man being himself onstage”.

The pop singer’s appearance on the BBC to ring in 2022 received 179 complaints, with the small number of viewers protesting that Alexander’s performance with a group of dancers was “too sexual”.

The complaints prompted widespread derision, including from Alexander himself, who has since told Times Radio that he found the story “amazingly funny”.

“I've had this in the past where, you know, I'm not doing anything remotely sexual on stage, but because of something I'm wearing, people complain that it's not family friendly,” the It’s a Sin star said.

“And it's just so ridiculous, so, I mean, you have to laugh. But you know, I can only assume this is because I'm gay. Certain people might be a bit uncomfortable with just a gay man being himself on stage, but who knows?”

In the interview, Alexander also spoke about the homophobic bullying that took place at his school, suggesting no one – including teachers – were equipped to deal with those issues.

At the time, Section 28 had been renounced, meaning local authorities were banned from “promoting” homosexuality on school curriculums, including sex education.

“[Homophobic bullying] was just really rife in my school, it was just really common to be picked on, being called gay or a poof,” he said.

“And I had long hair and wore crazy clothes and liked to wear make-up to school sometimes, I was definitely a target.”

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Olly Alexander in artwork for the new Years & Years album

Alexander recently released his first Years & Years album as a solo artist, Night Call, following the departure of his former bandmates Mikey Goldsworthy and Emre Türkmen.

Read The Independent’s review here.

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