Sir Tom Jones has responded to criticism he has received after stating that he was “paranoid” of homosexuals when he first started in the music industry.
In an interview with The Big Issue, Jones was quoted as saying: “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.”
The singer continued to say that his naive paranoia was “so much so that when I signed with Decca and Peter Sullivan became my manager, and he said the same thing Joe Meek said – tell the boys to pack their gear up, I want to talk to you myself – I said, you’re not one of these queer fellows are you? And he said, what are you on about? I became paranoid, you see.”
“I wondered, was that required to make a hit record? But then I got into it and I realised no, it just so happened that the first guy to record me was a homosexual producer. Once I got over the shock of that, and realised it wasn’t true, most people were normal. 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.”
Jones has been criticised for his comments, with Andrew White, Director of LGBT rights group Stonewall Cymru, telling The Daily Mail: “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. 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.”
Now, Jones has taken to Twitter to suggest that his comments have been taken without consideration to their context, saying that his remarks were about “attitudes in the 50s & 60s”.
He tweeted: “Context! The story is about knowledge/attitudes in the 50s & 60s. it’s called History!”
Openly gay former Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas recently defended Jones following the controversy, posting on Twitter: “I can 100% say this article reflects a time gap and having met @RealSirTomJones he is in NO WAY homophobic.”
Context! The story is about knowledge/attitudes in the 50s & 60s. it's called History!
— Tom Jones (@RealSirTomJones) October 22, 2015
The veteran performer released his new covers album ‘Long Lost Suitcase’ earlier this month, which features the Welsh singer covering the likes of The Rolling Stones, Hank Williams and more.
Jones recently spoke about his reaction to being axed from The Voice this summer. He says he told the BBC to “go fuck themselves”.