The Weeknd sparks angry backlash over 'homophobic' new song

The Weeknd sparks angry backlash over 'homophobic' new song

The latest song from The Weeknd has landed, and it's already inspired a debate. The song, a collaboration with French producer Gesaffelstein titled Lost in the Fire, has already amassed over seven million streams on Spotify over the last few days, but there has been some debate over the meaning of the lyrics.

In the second verse of the song, Abel Tesfaye (aka The Weeknd) describes dating a woman who "might be into girls," going on to suggest that it is just "a phase" and that he could "f*** her straight". The full lyrics from the verse, which has since been criticised by many, goes:

"You said you might be into girls (Into girls)
Said you're going through a phase (Through a phase)
Keeping your heart safe (Keepin' your heart safe, oh)
Well, baby, you can bring a friend (Bring a friend)
She can ride on top your face (Top your face)
While I f**k you straight (While I f**k you straight, yeah)"

One person who took issue with the lyrics was writer Jill Gutowitz, who called them "vile" in a tweet that has now gained significant traction. "i used to joke that listening to The Weeknd was homophobic but the lyrics from his new song 'lost in the fire' are actually f***ing vile," she wrote. "In 2019 we're still doing "f*** you straight" and calling female queerness a 'phase?'"

Musician Marika Hackman also added to the debate, stating that The Weeknd had managed to "deride, fetishise and dismiss lesbianism all in one verse."

Once Gutowitz' original tweet gained momentum, the writer came forward to explain that she wasn't attempting to "cancel" Tesfaye, but simply call out the harmful effect this kind of representation can have. “These are the kinds of lyrics that fucked me up when i was younger & subconsciously kept me in the closet,” she wrote. “So it’s important to talk about and say “this is isn’t ok.”

Some have also taken the song as a possible diss track against Drake. During one of the verses, Tesfaye sings: “I just want a baby with the right one/’Cause I would never be the one to hide one” - and these are lines that some fans have taken as a reference to Drake's son with former adult movie actress Sophie Brussaux. Despite the fact he was born in October 2017, it took until the song March 14 from the album Scorpion last June before the artist acknowledged he was the father.

Tesfaye said that Drake was an early champion of his work in an interview in 2015, but it wasn't all compliments. “I will always be thankful. If it wasn’t for the light he shined on me, who knows where I’d be,” he told Rolling Stone, but later added that Drake’s manager Oliver El-Khatib did the heavy lifting.

“Drake wasn’t even f**king with my music at first, Oliver was the one vouching for me,” he said. However, considering he also referred to Drake as “my closest friend in the industry at that time” in the interview, it's unclear why he would have bad enough feeling through a diss verse his way.

The Weeknd is yet to respond to whether these lines are about Drake, or comment on the criticism for the homphobic content of the second verse.