In Defense of Ariana Grande

Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Ariana Grande in concert at the Air Canada Centre.   

Last weekend, Ariana Grande got a little too close to a bunch of donuts, smooched her new boyfriend and declared, "I hate America. I hate Americans." Unfortunately for her, she was caught on camera doing all of these things.

A video from Wolfee Donuts in Lake Elsinore, Calif. that was obtained by TMZ forced Grande to issue an apologetic statement on Wednesday (July 8), in which the pop star wrote, "I am EXTREMELY proud to be an American and I've always made it clear that I love my country. What I said in a private moment with my friend, who was buying the donuts, was taken out of context and I am sorry for not using more discretion with my choice of words." She continued that she of course did not hate America, but was frustrated by "the fact that the United States has the highest child obesity rate in the world," which resulted in her clumsy proclamation.

Ariana Grande Apologizes for 'I Hate America' Video: 'I Am Extremely Proud To Be an American'

And yet, it wasn't enough -- because she didn't address the donut-licking. The video shows Grande and Ricky Alvarez seemingly daring each other to tongue a few powdered delicacies at the donut shop, either coming dangerously close to doing so or making mouth-to-donut contact.

People are outraged. (Want proof? Read the comments section here.) Why didn't she mention the donuts? Can we trust anything Ariana Grande says or does anymore? Can we go buy donuts without fearing Ariana Grande saliva coated on them? Is nothing sacred?

To the people asking these questions: I get it. Ariana Grande sort of acted like a brat on camera. It'll be all right. We'll all get through Donutgate together.

Ariana Grande did a dumb thing. She may or may not have licked a donut or two at a donut shop. Was it a mistake? Definitely. If she licked the donuts (and then did not purchase said donuts), then other customers might have bought and consumed contaminated goods. If she did not lick the donuts, it's not a good idea to hover that close to other people's food. Nobody likes germs, even pop-star germs.

Ariana Grande is 22 years old. That's too old to be giggling through donut-licking dares with a crush, but 22-year-olds also do dumb things. I was a senior in college when I was 22, and I did stuff that was a lot more boneheaded than putting my tongue on someone else's pastries. I'm sure a lot of you have, too!

That's not an excuse of Ariana's behavior, but an admission of reality. If you're reading this and are not 22 yet, please believe that you will do something pretty dumb when you're 22. You'll probably have the good fortune of not seeing it plastered on TMZ.

The biggest mistake Grande made during Donutgate was not addressing the lick or pseudo-lick at all in the apology she issued. Any sort of admission of mindlessness would have put our minds at ease more -- something like, "As for the donut-licking: that was a dumb thing, I was acting immature and I apologize to the staff at Wolfee Donuts." Easy. That would have been a face-saving move and would have deflected the criticism now being lobbed at her.

Ariana Grande may address Donutgate in the coming hours or coming days. She may issue another long apology as an addendum to today's long apology, or she may shrug it off as not that big of a deal. She may never address it at all! Either way, licked or unlicked, the donuts are gone, and Ariana Grande will never lick another donut that is not her donut for as long as she lives (or until TMZ no longer exists).

Does Ariana Grande have some growing up to do? Probably. This isn't her first controversy, and likely won't be her last, especially if she continues piling up hits. She's been accused of childish behavior before, and she was just caught on camera doing something childish. Ariana Grande is getting roasted right now for an unsavory act that was, for all intents and purposes, pretty harmless. Donutgate will likely end up a forgettable blip in a talented artist's career. She will get past this. We probably should, too.


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