Brian May fears that social media bullying has got out of hand, following his recent savaging by those who disagreed with his comments on the Bryan Singer controversy. This particular can of worms was opened on Instagram when a fan asked the Queen guitarist why he was still following Bohemian Rhapsody director Singer, who has been forced to deny claims that he sexually abused a number of young boys.
Seemingly rattled, May wrote that his fans need to “look after [their] own business and stop telling [him] what to do.” He added that they need to be appreciative of how people should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
May’s comment came on the same day that the Atlantic published a piece detailing allegations of sexual abuse misconduct by Singer in relation to four men. Singer branded the article a “homophobic smear piece.” Following a torrent of abuse directed toward May from other social media users, who perceived he was defending Singer, May felt compiled to write later the same day and clarify his position.
The Queen axeman wrote that he was “mortified to discover the effect [his] words produced.” May believes he was simply upholding the time-honored maxim that in a court of law a person is innocent until proven guilty. He was upset to discover that people would interpret his comments as a defense of Singer. He also wrote he was only following Singer because they were working together on a film, and that this could translate into “approving” of Singer never occurred to him.
Since then, May has added a new post in which he reveals that he was shocked and saddened by the backlash he received from what he thought was an innocent comment. He added that it has since made him appreciate the scale of social media bullying and how it is ruining lives.
May has confessed that the wave of abuse and negative comments he received has made him ask why anyone want to be on Instagram in the first place. Aside from asking what social media users are looking for, he also explained that the incident has taught him a lesson which should have been obvious from the beginning. In short, he feels he will never feel the same about Instagram again because the bond of trust has been broken.
“It’s made me look again at those stories of kids being bullied to the point of suicide by social media posts from their ‘friends’, who have turned on them. I now know first hand what it’s like to feel you’re in a safe place, being relaxed and open and unguarded, and then, on a word, to be suddenly be ripped into,” May added.
“It’s OK – I’m not looking for sympathy. I’m a grown-up – I can deal with it. I’ll just behave a little differently from now on. Take care out there, folks – and I mean that!”