Tom Jones has been in the news lately but not for his music.
Even though he just released his new album, Long Lost Suitcase, Jones has been getting more press over his release from The Voice U.K., his comments on Engelbert Humperdinck and, now, his statement on his fear of homosexuals in the 60's.
Jones talked to The Big Issue about his childhood and career but people have been focusing on one particular statement:
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. 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.Criticism came fast after the publication of the article. Andrew White of Stonewall Cymru, an LGBT rights group, said "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."
Twitter also lit up with criticism:
Tom Jones has said gay people aren't normal. Someone needs to tell him that, in this day and age, It's Not Unusual to be loved by anyone.
@RealSirTomJones being gay is not "normal"? Are you for real?
@Independent such a big voice, such a small worldview. Please someone around #TomJones, get him to shut up in public. Please!!!
@RealSirTomJones You silly old fool. Very disappointed.