After Harry Styles Was Groped During A Concert, Fans Started An Important Conversation

They started the hashtag #RespectHarry.

After video emerged over the weekend appearing to show a fan touching Harry Styles inappropriately as he performed on stage, fans took to social media to defend the singer, calling the gesture sexual assault and reminding fellow fans that women and men deserve to be treated with respect.

According to Us Weekly, the incident occurred as the One Direction star was singing his solo song "Kiwi" at the Hollywood Bowl on Saturday, as part of the We Can Survive concert for breast cancer awareness. At one point during the performance, he knelt near the edge of the stage, where someone in the crowd appeared to grab his crotch. Video shows Styles quickly standing up and moving away.

"You can tell it freaked him out a little because as he continued performing, he avoided the section that fan was standing in," an eyewitness told Yahoo Celebrity UK about the incident.

Many of Styles' fans were disturbed by the video, using the Twitter hashtag #RespectHarry to call out the audience member's inappropriate behavior, emphasizing that such unwanted contact is just as disrespectful to men as it is to women — and that fans should treat celebrities as human beings, not objects.

"Treat ALL people with kindness AND respect," one fan wrote, while another added, "Call this what it is. Sexual assault."

The conversation occurred in light of recent discussions around sexual assault and harassment, prompted by dozens of accusations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. In recent weeks, both women and men have shared their own stories, including former NFL star and actor Terry Crews, who revealed that he was groped at a Hollywood event last year.

Styles isn't the first artist to deal with something like this. Luke Bryan, for example, put a rule in place that fans can't touch his butt during meet-and-greets — a rule he broke this year for an 88-year-old fan battling a terminal illness.

Meanwhile, Styles is just as quick to stand up for his fans as they are for him. In a Rolling Stone interview around his album release earlier this year, the singer answered a question about "proving his credibility" since his fan base is largely young women. 

"Who's to say that young girls who like pop music — short for popular, right? — have worse musical taste than a 30-year-old hipster guy?" he wondered, going on to say of his fans, "They're our future. Our future doctors, lawyers, mothers, presidents, they kind of keep the world going."

Cover image: JStone / Shutterstock.com

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