Sam Smith defends himself after ‘first gay Oscar winner’ mistake

Singer made claim during his acceptance speech at the 88th Academy Awards on Sunday

Sam Smith has defended himself after mistakenly claiming to be the first “openly gay man” to win an Oscar during his acceptance speech at the 88th Academy Awards on Sunday (February 28).

The British singer won the Best Original Song award for his Bond song ‘Writing’s On The Wall’. Accepting the award with his co-writer Jimmy Napes, Smith said: “I read an article that said no openly gay man had ever won an Oscar, and if this is the case, I want to dedicate this to the LGBT community all around the world.”

“I stand here tonight as a proud gay man and I hope we can all stand together as equals one day,” he continued during his speech.

Smith had mistakenly been referring to the fact that no openly gay man had won a Best Actor Oscar. In fact, many gay actors, screenwriters, directors and musicians have won Oscars over the years. Smith also later claimed to be only the “second openly gay person” to win an Oscar.

Responding to criticism over his comments, Smith took to Twitter to write: “Second openly gay man to win an Oscar or third or fourth or 100th, It wasn’t my point… My point was to shine some light on the LGBT community who I love so dearly”. See his tweets below.

Smith also apologised for failing to recognise that screenwriter Dustin Lance Black had won an Oscar for his work on 2009’s Milk. Black, partner of Olympic diver Tom Daley, responded to Smith’s acceptance speech by tweeting: “Hey @SamSmithWorld, if you have no idea who I am, it may be time to stop texting my fiancé”. He later clarified that he had been joking.

Smith responded to Black’s tweet with his own: “Apologies for the mix up @DLanceBlack I’ll be sure to check out your films now x Belated Congrats on the Oscar x”.

Smith also made a faux-pas when he reportedly joked that he should “date” openly gay lyricist Howard Ashman, who had won the Best Original Song Oscar twice. Ashman died in 1991 from complications from AIDS. Smith has not yet responded to this incident.

Sam Smith also performed his Spectre theme live at the Oscars. He later described the performance as “the worst moment of my life”, adding that he “hated every moment of it”.