Fame To Shame – James Arthur
HOMOPHOBIA, terrorism…what’s the next contentious issue James Arthur will rap about? It’s hard to believe the X Factor winner could do anything more to sink his career after his homophobic slur last November. But he screwed up again recently when his newly released song contained lyrics glamorising terrorism. Not surprisingly, there’s been media reports that he’s dropped from Simon Cowell’s record label Syco. So how did one of the most popular winners of the X Factor turn into public enemy number one?
When James Arthur auditioned for the X Factor in 2012, the public were drawn to this very talented nobody. He was open about his turbulent past throughout his stint on the show. The Daily Mail website reported his riches to rags life story. “I started sleeping rough when I was 15. I got kicked out of my mum’s house and I didn’t really care where I slept.”
With some cleverly crafted PR management Arthur was portrayed as the bad boy turned good. “I’ve been in trouble with the police and got my wrists slapped a few times on nights out for fighting. But I’d never go out and try to intentionally harm anyone,” he told media. His version of Shontelle’s ‘Impossible‘ was the fastest selling single of 2012. When he was presented with the Number One Award from the Official Charts company he said: “To everyone from home and around Britain who bought the single, thank you very, very much. You’ve made my dreams come true.” So what happened to this seemingly humble, mild-mannered guy who won the X Factor?
Ever since he released his first album, he has been daubed in controversy. In November 2013 he used a homophobic slur, calling artist Mickey Worthless a“f**king q***r”, in a rap. Consequently Arthur got into a twitter spat with former X Factor contestant Lucy Spraggan and British comedian Frankie Boyle. In an attempt at damage control, James Arthur left Twitter and his management took over his account.
ITV was eager to disassociate itself from the controversy and released a statement. “Both ITV and the producers of The X Factor would like to make it clear that in no way do we support, condone or share any form of homophobia or discrimination.”
At the end of March he dumped his own PR team publicly on Twitter and asked fans to apply for the job. The rebellious singer clearly had enough of his PR team’s over-friendly approach. He tweeted “HQ please stop writing things like “we think you would #LOVE This and that” or “everybody #GETDOWN and buy this.” It’s embarrassing””. This was shortly followed by a job offer as his PR manager. “The job is now going to an actual fan. Who wants the HQ job? #LOVE”.
He isn’t afraid to attack the music industry including the competition that gave him a global platform. Last month he ranted on Polish TV about his music bosses. “I have people telling me what I can and can’t do, what music I can and can’t make. People who aren’t artists don’t think about creativity and art, they think about money.”
His most recent controversy arose from his song Follow The Leader. The rap included the line “I’m gona blow up your family like I’m a terrorist”. This is especially insensitive in a country which has been shook by terrorism as recently as 2005 with the London Bombings.
The James Arthur portrayed on X Factor was a controlled, micro-managed version created for the public. While his arrogance and discriminative behaviour have done him no favours, we probably haven’t heard the last of him. Just like before, his PR will show a reformed man ready for a second chance. But this time it will be a lot tougher to win over the public.
Photos c/o mirror.co.uk, youtube.com