Blake Shelton is People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” of 2017. And the internet isn’t having it.

Blake Shelton is People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” of 2017. And the internet isn’t having it.

People magazine announced that the “Sexiest Man Alive” of 2017 is … Blake Shelton.

That’s right. Blake Shelton: country singer, The Voice judge, boyfriend of Gwen Stefani, and frequent purveyor of weird gay panic, misogyny, and Islamophobia.

If naming Shelton was a publicity stunt, it worked: Twitter users were so startled by the revelation that both “Blake Shelton” and “Sexiest Man Alive” trended for most of Wednesday, and the jokes flowed loudly and freely:

Many social media users were quick to compare Shelton’s looks to things that are — how can we put this? — not sexy:

Of course, People is routinely derided for its choice of Sexiest Man Alive, which is a transparently PR-driven exercise often jokingly equated to a “best publicist” award. As such, each year’s choice invites a wave of alternate opinions, and 2017 is no exception, with social media users being quick to point out other, sexier alternatives to Shelton:

Twitter users had many opinions on who the actual sexiest men of the year were, but a general consensus seemed to form around the triad of perennially overlooked frontrunner Idris Elba, upcoming Aquaman actor Jason Momoa, and the usual gaggle of white guys named Chris:

But despite the jokes, there’s plenty of reason beyond the subjective nature of sexiness to be critical of People’s decision — namely because Shelton has been flagrantly and repeatedly homophobic in the past, once “joking” in a 2011 tweet that he would leave any gay man who tried to touch him beaten and bloody.

He also used the stage at the Country Music Awards for an awkward gay joke about Jake Gyllenhaal because he starred in Brokeback Mountain, and has repeatedly referenced gay panic and jokes about finding lesbians hot on his Twitter account. In the past, he’s made toxic jokes about women, including noting, in 2010, a “sick fantasy” about then-16-year-old Dakota Fanning, and has repeatedly made Islamophobic and xenophobic jokes about non-English-language speakers and foreigners around him.

Last year, after the tweets were uncovered and public outcry arose, he attempted to pass off all of his statements as comedy. Yet since then he’s gone on to openly decry “political correctness,” and last year praised Donald Trump for “say[ing] what he thinks,” without acknowledging the coded racism and bigotry that often underlies Trump’s statements.

After the news about Shelton’s new title began circulating, many began pointing out the singer’s problematic history:

Still, some were quick to point out that it’s not the first time People has made odd decisions in its annual Sexiest Man vote. For starters, the list has historically been overwhelmingly white, with only two men of color ever gracing its cover — Denzel Washington in 1996 and The Rock in 2016. This fact, combined with backlash over Shelton, had many onlookers pointing out how problematic the list has historically been.

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  1. Mandy
    November 16, 08:51 Reply

    People Magazine could at least pretend that this Sexiest Man Alive schtick isn’t such a rigged thing. Like honestly, Blake Shelton? He’s not even the most hapening male celebrity in 2017, if you’re considering his impact on pop culture.

  2. Delle
    November 16, 10:26 Reply

    How on earth is that guy even sexy!? ??

  3. quinn
    November 16, 13:03 Reply

    These white can get crazy funny on twitter. We really need to see the people that voted to give him that title at people magazine hq. Like seriously! Only Gay men should be called to vote on this ??

  4. quinn
    November 16, 13:04 Reply

    P.S sexy is officially dead.

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