A reporter tells the “Writing’s on the Wall” singer that Howard Ashman was the first openly gay man to win an Oscar in the Best Original Song category
Sam Smith dug himself deeper into a hole at the Oscars Sunday when he quipped in the press room that he “should date” Howard Ashman, the first openly gay man to win an Academy Award in the Best Original Song category.
Problem is, Ashman is dead.
The lyricist who won two Oscars in the same category — one for “The Little Mermaid” in 1990 and other posthumously for “Beauty and the Beast” in 1992 — died in 1991 due to AIDS complications.
Smith’s second public speaking gaffe of the night came after a reporter in the Oscars press room informed the “Writing’s on the Wall” singer that he was not the first openly gay winner, as Smith mentioned during his acceptance speech that he thought he may have been.
“Shit,” responded Smith. “F–k that.”
“But is that actually even better news that this barrier has already been broken?” the same reporter asked.
“Two is my lucky number, so it’s all good,” Smith said (although many more than two openly gay men have won Oscars in the past). “Who was the other person?”
When the reporter informed him of Ashman’s win, Smith said, “I should know him. We should date.”
Although Smith was applauded by some for dedicating his Oscar to the entire LGBT community, he did get called out for forgetting all the gay men that had won before him, including Elton John, Bill Condon and Dustin Lance Black. Smith accidentally misread a quote from Sir Ian McKellan, who said in January that “no openly gay man has ever won the [Best Actor] Oscar.”
Black called out Smith on Twitter, and also asked the singer to “stop texting” his fiancé, Olympian Tom Daley.
Black followed up with another tweet reading, “THE POINT: knowing our LGBTQ history is important. We stand on the shoulders of countless brave men and women who paved the way for us.”