Hero of The Year? Well, that was short-lived.
While accepting the accolade at last night’s NME Awards at London’s Brixton Academy, Slowthai made a series of lewd comments to host Katherine Ryan. These included: “Baby girl … if you want to do something, see me later … you ain’t never had anyone play with you like I’ll play with you.”
The exchange prompted a reaction from the crowd, with one spectator shouting that he was a “misogynist”. The heckling riled the 25-year-old rapper, who then proceeded to hurl his microphone and a champagne flute into the audience.
Twitter was quick to condemn, with @tjdmc stating: “Slowthai just undermined his entire discography in 3.5 minutes. Pure disappointment. Fair play to Katherine Ryan, NME hero award 2021.”
A seasoned stand-up, Katherine Ryan had no problem holding her own, mocking his behaviour by joking: “I’m so wet I might slip off the stage.”
But his actions have pissed plenty of people off. “Slowthai behaviour at NME awards super super trash. Such a shame that an artist who claims to be for the people and for equality acts like a sex pest. Shit is so whack. What a let down,” tweeted @JackyP_DJ.
The behaviour was particularly disappointing for fans considering Slowthai’s apparent previous positioning as a feminist. In an interview with producer Kenny Beats last November, Slowthai commented: “I’m not like other rappers, I’ve got manners and I’m nice to women.” Doubling down on this, his track Ladies sees him shout out his matriarchal upbringing with the lyrics, “This one’s for the ladies/‘Cause they have our babies/And they drive us crazy/But they made us men.”
At 12:30pm today the artist issued an apology via a tweet that read: “.@nme please forward my award to @kathbum for she is the hero of the year. what started as a joke between us escalated to a point of shameful actions on my part. i want to unreservedly apologise, there is no excuse and I am sorry. i am not a hero. (1/2)”. It was followed by: “(2/2) katherine, you are a master at your craft and next time i’ll take my seat and leave the comedy to you. to any woman or man who saw a reflection of situations they’ve been in in those videos, i am sorry. i promise to do better. let’s talk here.”
Katherine Ryan seemed to accept his apology, replying: “I knew you were joking and congratulations on your very award-worthy album! I hope you know that a bad day on social media passes so quickly. Everything will be better tomorrow. Xx.”
Despite this seemingly amicable settlement between the two, fans remain divided on what to think.
“Disappointed but mistakes happen,” says @Nuttyminter. “We are all still extremely disappointed in you. We all thought we had someone we could look up to but this proved us all wrong. I love you ty but that was disgusting,” agrees @Tyler54771494. However @LanaRowlett wasn’t onboard, stating: “You scared me, apology unaccepted.”
Whether Slowthai can win back those disappointed by his actions is unclear. However one thing’s for sure: that hero trophy appears to be Ryan’s now.