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Sam Smith facing backlash for Oscars acceptance speech

The Oscar winner has come under fire for stating he was the first openly gay man to win
Sam Smith

Plenty of Oscar winners used their acceptance speeches to draw attention to important causes last night, but none have sparked quite as much criticism as Sam Smith.

The British singer was awarded the Oscar for Best Original Song for ‘Writing’s On The Wall’, the theme song from the latest Bond film Spectre.

At the podium, the 23-year-old said he had read an article where Sir Ian McKellen was quoted as claiming “no openly gay man had ever won an Oscar”.

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“If this is the case – and even if it isn’t the case – I want to dedicate this to the LGBT community all around the world,” Sam said as he accepted his award alongside songwriter Jimmy Napes.

Unfortunately, in the original article Sam was referring to, Ian was actually talking specifically about the Best Actor category – and that’s not the only slip-up the singer made on the night.

While he undoubtedly meant well, Sam’s comments caused plenty of controversy on Twitter, where several users pointed out that he is by no means the first gay Oscar winner.

Dustin Lance Black, who won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 2008 for the film Milk, slammed Sam for both his speech and for texting his fiancé, British Olympic diver Tom Daley.

“Hey @SamSmithWorld, if you have no idea who I am, it may be time to stop texting my fiancé. Here’s a start,” he wrote, linking to a video of his acceptance speech at the 2008 Oscars ceremony.

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Former American Idol singer Clay Aiken also weighed in on the subject, writing, ‘”Congrats to Sam Smith for being the first openly gay man to inaccurately claim he is the first openly gay man to win at the #Oscars.”

Other previous gay Oscar winners include musicians Elton John, Melissa Etheridge, Stephen Sondheim and Spanish director Pedro Almodovar.

Sam has since fronted up to his critics on Twitter, seemingly taking the criticism in his stride.

Meanwhile, Ian himself took to Twitter to congratulate Sam on his achievement.

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