Shawn Mendes addressed rumours about his sexuality Thursday, telling fans he's "not gay," and "it shouldn't make a difference if I was or if I wasn't."
The 17-year-old singer — who hails from Pickering, Ont. — posted a series of videos to his Snapchat account saying the focus on his sexual orientation is a distraction.
"The focus should be on the music and not my sexuality," he said, even though only "one per cent" of his followers make assumptions about his dating preferences.
"I don't usually do this and bring up problems, but I was on YouTube just watching some of my interviews, and I was going down the comments and noticed a lot of people were saying that I gave them a 'gay vibe,'" said Mendes.
Mendes added he's not angry about the rumours.
"I have no problem with that, because it wouldn't make a difference to me," he continued. "I'm frustrated because in this day and age people have the audacity to write online that I'm gay as if it were a bad thing. That's all I really have to say about that. I just wish those one percent of people would grow up. I love you guys."
Shawn Mendes Visits "The Elvis Duran Z100 Morning Show" at Z100 Studio on June 3, 2016 in New York City. (Photo: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)
In the Snapchat videos, Mendes also notes he wants his followers to take one message to heart, that words can sting in spite of one's intention.
"I just want you guys—before you judge someone on the way they speak or act—I want you guys to think, 'Hey, maybe I shouldn't be judging someone' or 'Wait, it actually doesn't even matter. They can do or be or feel however they want to feel.'"
"I'm frustrated because in this day and age people have the audacity to write online that I'm gay as if it were a bad thing."
Mendes has spoken out about online bullying before, too. Last November, the "Stitches" singer told The Huffington Post Canada he has "felt the wrath of people over a computer."
"The things [social media] can do for people and for causes are incredible [but] it can also really really hurt someone," said Mendes, back in November. "It's super simple, I asked my fans to write on sticky notes something like 'you're awesome' or 'you rock' or 'you're beautiful.'"
Much like his music, this anti-bullying campaign quickly connected with his supporters.
"We had 37,000 people [sign] up for it in the first couple weeks, it was amazing to think about."
The Juno nominee and iHeartRadio MMVA winner will soon kick off a new series of North American dates for his world tour on July 15 in Florida. Many of his scheduled appearances are already sold out, including his two Canadian stops in Vancouver on July 27 and Toronto on Aug. 21.
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