Many fans of the A-list couple were devastated by the news and shared their distress and condolences on social media. Others took the opportunity to drag either half of the former couple, with many setting their sights on Mendes in particular.
The Canadian artist started dating Cuban-American singer Cabello in mid-2019. Their relationship has been closely watched in the years since, particularly after allegations of a PR stunt were levied. Numerous people accused the duo of faking a relationship as a publicity stunt and were initially wary of the pairing.
The duo stayed together for several years, however, allowing them to leave all accusations of a dating stunt in the past. The recent announcement of their breakup has instead spurred different rumors: that Mendes is gay.
This is far from the first time Mendes has faced accusations like these. The singer was forced to address rumors regarding his sexuality in 2016, stating via Snapchat that “I’m not gay,” and going on to point out that “it shouldn’t make a difference if I was or if I wasn’t. The focus should be on the music and not my sexuality,” according to reporting from US Weekly.
The rumor mill is back at it in the wake of Mendes and Cabello’s breakup. After rumors began swirling yet again about Mendes’ sexuality, fans of the 23-year-old singer took to Twitter to defend the young heartthrob.
“Can we stop the ‘Shawn Mendes is gay’ gossip,” one user wrote. “First, who cares? Second, this is just bullying and sends a message to little kids that being gay is something to be mocked or gossiped about.”
Can we stop the “Shawn Mendes is gay” gossip? First, who cares?
Second, this is just bullying and sends a message to little kids that being gay is something to be mocked or gossiped about.
My generation fought so hard against homophobic bullying to go backwards now.— Lucy (@LucyRebel13) November 18, 2021
A huge number of Mendes fans agreed, blasting naysayers for discussing Mendes’ sexuality as if it has any effect on his music.
I hate how people started talking about his sexuality randomly after his breakup with Camila, like it’s not even related to it?
Stop assuming Shawn Mendes’s sexuality, how would you feel if thousands of people discussed if you are gay or not? Leave him alone— Cheryl (@Cheryl53909880) November 18, 2021
Another user pointed out that “this ‘shawn mendes is gay because he is feminine’ bit is so tired and damaging to all boys—queer or not—trying to build a healthy relationship w masculinity.”
i have no idea what shawn mendes’s sexuality is and i don’t really care, but this “shawn mendes is gay because he is feminine” bit is so tired and damaging to all boys — queer or not — trying to build a healthy relationship w masculinity— matt (@mattxiv) November 18, 2021
The incident appears somewhat triggering for some in the LGBTQ+ community, some of whom noted that it feels like a “gut punch” to hear people use the same language they grew up hearing to describe Mendes.
are some of the shawn mendes gay jokes funny? yes
do they also remind me of that unspeakably awful, gut-punch feeling i’d get when i was closeted and someone TOLD me i was gay because i let the mask slip and acted feminine for one whole second? also yes
— matt (@mattxiv) November 18, 2021
whether shawn mendes is gay or not is irrelevant and quite frankly no ones business. it’s just the way in which you guys choose to pick apart his every move and make a joke or meme about it, is really fucked up honestly. https://t.co/vht2b3WMAC— the round twink 🐷 (@LuciferTheGay) November 18, 2021
Quite a few people put the blame for the rumors on the gay community itself. They accused gay men, in particular, of being so desperate to have a chance with Mendes that they are now perpetuating an unconfirmed, and damaging, rumor.
The gays are annoying with this whole Shawn Mendes thing lmao like damn so what if he’s gay….let the poor kid live.— Titico (@Lil_Mec) November 18, 2021
To all the gay men making jokes about Shawn Mendes’s sexuality and “claiming him”— you are part of the problem. If someone says they’re straight, believe them until they say otherwise. Speculation and being outed are the exact things you didn’t want to happen to you. Stop.— Knowlton (@Knowltoncain) November 18, 2021
As Mendes treads the treacherous waters that he and Cabello‘s breakup has prompted, at least he can rest easy knowing that a large portion of the internet is there to back him up.