Yes, Harry Styles and Lewis Capaldi shared a kiss at Brit Awards 2023. So what?

Harry Styles and Lewis Capaldi

Harry Styles and Lewis Capaldi shared a kiss at The BRIT Awards and in the true fashion of internet discourse, people promptly handed them the worst hot take: that they were queerbaiting. 

The pair locked lips during the 2023 awards ceremony, which took place inside London’s O2 arena on Saturday night (11 February) and saw Styles win four awards. 

Video footage shared on Twitter showed the two singers share a quick peck on the lips and embrace in a hug, as the crowd cheered in the background. 

In another video, posted on TikTok by BBC Radio 1 presenter Greg James, Capaldi can be heard jokingly saying “I’ve just kissed Harry Styles on the lips, I’m fully erect” after the exchange. 

Twitter users were quick to accuse the pair of ‘queerbaiting’ and suggest Styles only locked lips with Capaldi to appease queer fans. 

Queerbaiting is a term that was originally applied to how the entertainment industry would hint at – but not openly depict – LGBTQ+ representation, such as a same-sex romance. Think Sherlock Holmes and John Watson in Sherlock, Rachel Berry and Quinn Fabray in Glee and Star Wars’ Finn and Poe. 

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It has often been used as a marketing tool to appeal to the LGBTQ+ community, without genuinely creating meaningful representation. 

In recent months, the term has been more often used to criticise real people, namely celebrities who have been coy about disclosing their sexuality or relationship history to the public. 

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Back in October, Heartstopper star Kit Connor was forced to come out as bisexual amid accusations of queerbaiting by fans. 

Styles has also previously courted controversy for not openly sharing his sexuality and has hit back at critics multiple times

Styles and Capaldi’s kiss is just the latest incident in a long history of people accusing celebrities – who are real people at the end of the day – of having some master marketing plan simply for showing affection to their friends. 

Harry Styles attends The BRIT Awards 2023 at The O2 Arena on 11 February, 2023 (Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Here at PinkNews, to that kiss, we say: so what? 

Yes, two of the biggest stars in the world shared a kiss. Yes, one of those stars has become an icon for the LGBTQ+ community. Yes, that same star has been discreet about his identity. No, it does not mean it was queerbaiting. 

Everyday, the team at PinkNews cover LGBTQ+ issues around the globe. Compared to cases of horrific anti-LGBTQ+ violence, hate crimes, rampant transphobia and the continued legality of conversion therapy, a kiss – as it stands – is not worth worrying about.

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