Billie Eilish’s Queer Baiting: Can You Separate the Music from the Artist?

With the rise of cancel culture, a form of ostracism in the media, many famous artists are being held accountable for their actions. Fans have found a way to try and dismiss their artist’s actions by claiming to separate the art from the artist. However, I believe that cannot be done as many artists’ work is very personal to them. In addition, listening to their music is the equivalent of supporting and contributing to their actions because you delude them into thinking they can get away with anything. 

One artist that comes to mind is Billie Eilish. Famous for her street-style clothes,  music videos, and quirky personality, the 20-year-old has recently been receiving backlash from the LGBTQ+ community after her music video for her song Lost Cause got called out for queer baiting. Queer baiting is a marketing technique used to gain fame or attention by hinting at same-sex relationships. Famous examples of queerbaiting are shown in That ‘70s Show, Riverdale, Criminal Minds, and Sherlock. In the Lost Cause video, Eilish is shown having a sleepover with her female friends, kissing and hugging each other. An uproar arose after fans debated her sexuality.

She’s even produced a song called Wish You Were Gay, which expressed her feelings of embarrassment for being rejected by a boy and wished it was because he was gay instead of her being a “shitty person,” as she claims. As of June of last year, Eilish confirmed that she was dating Matthew Vorce, an actor who is 10 years older than she is. Vorce is quoted as saying racist and homophobic things on social media. He later issued an apology on Instagram claiming he knew what he did was wrong and that he takes full responsibility for any harm that he’s caused. He issued the apology only after he and Eilish were spotted together, which most likely means he never would’ve apologized for anything had he not been caught. 

To defend her, fans claim that her intent was never to harm anyone and that she’s changed. Eilish did in fact write Wish You Were Gay when she was only 14 years old. She’s also shown support for the LGBTQ+ community in the past and present. However, I believe that argument is completely flawed as, at her age, she was well aware of the harm she could cause. Eilish is not a part of the LGBTQ+ community, therefore that was not her coming out video and she only made it for profit. Her video was mainly to please viewers and get her famous. She is profiting off of fetishizing our lives when she herself has never experienced homophobia, the fear of being outed, or any discrimination. People who are still defending her clearly don’t understand the severity of her actions.