La’Porsha Renae is quickly learning that even after American Idol she will be under a microscope. The Season 24 runner-up and newly signed Motown recording artist got herself into hot water over a comment she made during a press call with reporters last week when she was asked about the HB1523 anti-gay legislation recently passed in her home state of Mississippi. The controversial “Religious Liberty” bill allows businesses and religiously affiliated organizations to deny service to LGBT people, single mothers and anyone else who might offend an employee based on “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
“This is how I feel about the LGBT community: They are people just like us,” La’Porsha said. “They’re not animals as someone stated before. They’re people with feelings. Although all of us may not agree with that particular lifestyle for religious reasons, whatever the reason is, you still treat each other with respect. Everybody is a human being. We should be able to coexist with one another.”
Unfortunately, La’Porsha Renae went on to elaborate on the LGBT “lifestyle,” and that’s what got her into trouble.
“I am one of the people who don’t really agree with that lifestyle. I wasn’t brought up that way; it wasn’t how I was raised,” Renae added, “but I do have a lot of friends and a lot of people that I love dearly who are gay and homosexual, and they’re such sweet, nice people. We should just respect each other’s differences and opinions and move on.”
After the not-so-surprising backlash, La’Porsha admitted to TV Line that using the word “lifestyle” to describe homosexuality was “offensive.” Renae also said she didn’t know a lot about the new Mississippi laws, but that she has many gay friends and is firmly against any law that promotes discrimination.
Still, La’Porsha felt pressed to explain her comments further, so she addressed the issue on Periscope, explaining that her comments got a bit twisted in the interview.
“I tried to be as open and honest and neutral as possible, but that’s the way interviews go,” Renae said. “Sometimes when you do interviews, it gets twisted up. I can understand when I read it back why people were offended, and for that, I deeply apologize. I wasn’t trying to offend anyone. I was just trying to honestly answer a question that caught me off guard. It was supposed to be an interview about singing, and it became political and I’m not a political person at all.”
La’Porsha Renae is quickly learning that life outside of the American Idol bubble is going to be very different for her, and she will have to be careful about every single thing she says. While she didn’t win the Idol title, La’Porsha Renae still won a car and a recording contract with Motown Records in partnership with Big Machine.
With her killer voice and her compelling back-story, she could easily outshine the show’s winner Trent Harmon, which means she’ll have to learn how to master the interview circuit. Sadly, La’Porsha Renae’s American Idol success is being overshadowed by her careless comments, but she does seem sincere when she says she meant no offense.
Perhaps if American Idol comes back in a revamped format (as both Simon Fuller and Nigel Lythgoe have already teased), part of the coaching could include how to handle the press because anyone can open their mouth to sing, but it takes a while different type of talent to get your talking points across.
Take a look at the video below to see more of La’Porsha Renae’s interview with TV Line.
[Photo By Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]